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Business Information by Gladys Edmunds

Business Information by Gladys Edmunds
At age 15 Gladys developed a travel service that would prosper for more than 30 years. She is a national award winning entrepreneur, keynote speaker, author and columnist. Visit her at

Avoiding Backstabbers in Business

Avoiding Backstabbers in Business

Dear Gladys,

I don't own my own business. But, I think that the situation I'm concerned about could apply to anyone in business as well as the work environment. I am in banking and I want to climb to the top of my corporation. But how do you keep motivated and a positive attitude when negative people come in and out of your life on a regular basis. Just when I think that I have found a friend and supporter I find that it's just another backstabber. I have read all of your columns and I know that you have written about how we must have supporters in order to succeed; but what about the backstabbers? How do I recognize them before they strike?

Thanks — ME

Your experience is what being human is all about. We all get a chance to run into the people who will misuse our trust and betray us at some point. But, believe it or not that can prove to be a good thing. Good, because it helps us to establish how best to set up our own boundaries. And, we must establish boundaries.

Usually we have these negative experiences when we share too much of our business to others. And it can go both ways, we can share too much of the private things and we can share too much of the success that happens in our lives. I have had my share of experiences that has helped me to exercise caution when dealing with people.

Confidentiality is a concept used by military strategists. Pursuing your endeavors in secret, thereby avoiding or bypassing possible opposition is one way to avoid betrayal.

This lesson came early for me. I remember telling a "friend" that I was working on a pitch to get a new account. The person asked me many questions about who the potential client was and even offered to help me pull my pitch together. This clever helper even searched around the company and learned whom the go-to person was that would help me secure the account. I felt fortunate to have such an incredible and supportive friend.

As I continued to polish my presentation, my "friend" got called away on what she referred to as "important business."

Finally I was ready to make my approach to the company that I longed to have as a client. When I reached out to the company, I was told that although my ideas for them were unique and different surprisingly another company had contacted them a couple of weeks earlier and had been given the account. When I inquired as to who the other company was I learned that it was my helpful friend.

So I learned early and now many of the missions that I start are kept in secret and carried out behind the scenes. This prevents people from surrounding my intended project with negative energy or taking the idea and running with it; they never get that chance because they don't know what's going on.

There are no easy answers to learning up front who is for you and who is not. But, keeping your business to yourself can be a good start.

I once took a Dale Carnegie course and one of the things we learned about communication is to talk to other people's interests and get people talking about themselves. When you do that you must also learn to listen so that you hear everything they say and much of what they don't say. My friend Molly, who is a lawyer, once told me that if you listen closely to people when they talk, they are telling you everything about themselves without realizing it. I have found this advice realistic. And when they reveal themselves it's your job to listen and act accordingly.

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