At the office, chitchat behind co-workers’ backs is pretty common, but a new study found that managers — and men — were the most duplicitous at work.
A survey conducted by Propeller Research with management platform Reflektive surveyed 1,000 full-time employees and found that managers were more than twice as likely to sabotage another manager in order to make themselves appear better.
Managers, in general, were more commonly using sabotaging tactics than actual employers, according to the survey.
Those in power were found more likely to talk about another behind their back (managers at 26% versus employees at 14%). Managers were found to withhold certain information more often than employees (18% versus 7%) and they held pre-meetings to steal colleagues’ ideas (16% versus 5%).
Battle of the sexes
When it comes to getting ahead, men were far more likely to sabotage a colleague leading up to a performance review compared to women, according to the survey. In fact, men were four times more likely (men at 8% versus women at 2%) to do so. Plus 11% of men said they’ve suggested their own mistakes were actually someone else’s fault, compared to only 4% of women.
One way to solve smack talk in the office might be 360 reviews, according to the survey. 360 reviews are where peers submit anonymous feedback on anything in the office. It creates an outlet to direct animosity and other misgivings and for those most guilty of sabotage — men and managers –, they both agreed that 360 reviews were beneficial.
Men appreciated feedback more than women from 360 reviews, while men also found it brought them closer to everyone (26% versus 15%) and nearly a quarter of male respondents said they felt it was the only way to improve, compared to 11% of women.
“The degree and frequency of deliberate sabotage at work is concerning but enlightening,” said Reflektive Vice President of Employee Success Rachel Ernst in a press release. “People, managers included, are human and therefore fallible. Although time-consuming, 360 reviews are an important tool to mitigate bias that can arise when just one person is conducting a top-down review. Peer input ensures feedback is more likely to be fair and well-rounded.”
Ernst suggested four tips on how to implement a successful peer-review system:
Identify anomalies – Find a rating that sticks out from the overall trend within your company. It may reflect personal bias.
Strive for a balanced analysis – When using a peer-review system, questions should be tailored to identify different behaviors — both positive and negative.
Conduct a fact-based assessment – Reviewers need to provide specific examples for context. Accuracy is important.
Align feedback to the vision – Ensure questions evaluate competencies in the job description.