Colleagues! One finds them fantastic, sociable and indispensable, while the other is annoyed and would like nothing more than that all those colleagues are gone the next day. To finally be able to work quietly, undisturbed. People think the atmosphere in the office is cozy and colleagues help each other. The opposite turns out to be true. Some colleagues steal, cheat and lie to make themselves better. But what exactly is that and how can you best deal with your colleagues throughout your career?

Your colleague is your biggest competitor

If you want to be successful in your sales career within a large commercial company, you first have to change your mindset about colleagues! You have to understand that your colleagues in the sales department, are always your direct competitors. Never treat your colleagues as friends and don’t tell them everything. Never blindly trust your colleagues or count on their support. Because every colleague, like you, has the goal in mind to keep his job: for guaranteed income and stability in the private sphere. And to maximize his profits: in the form of financial bonuses, recognition and promotions.

Think about this: If your colleague can reach his target by subtly not sharing leads that were actually intended for you, or by talking badly about you behind your back, then this colleague will soon earn thousands of dollars more bonus! If he plays it smart, he also ensures that he gets maximum credits and fame from executives. Most experienced sales professionals can generally play that game very well!

The brutal reality about colleagues that nobody talks about

Why is all this happening and is this happening to you, you might wonder? Here are three common causes:

  • You have become too comfortable.
  • Perhaps you are too naïve.
  • Maybe you still believe in the “dream-team” picture of HR and your manager.

One thing is certain: Your colleagues will sooner or later always betray you, to improve and protect themselves. They protect their financial income and job stability in order to protect their privacy. Stability for their partner, children, family or their relationship. In a commercial, competitive business environment, this happens every day! It will happen too in your career.

Nice office culture and perfect team are fake HR-news

No one talks about it, because it directly clashes with the ideal picture that HR and your manager want to sketch. Namely:

  • That their company is a fun, cozy place, where everyone comes together to be creative and spar together and brainstorm with each other about creative ideas.
  • Share and celebrate Beautiful successes with each other.
  • A place in the office with a great “work-life balance”.
  • And fun activities and drinks after work……

Yes, really??? No of course not, that’s all really fake! If you believe exclusively in this, you will never see the blow your colleague hands you on a blue Monday! That hard slap in the face comes right out of the blind spot of your office radar! That’s why I strongly advise you to stop blindly trusting your colleagues. And be constantly vigilant from now on, so that you don’t become too comfortable and naive in the office. No…. Of course, I’m not saying that all colleagues are bad and have a fixed day job to steal from you every day! I’m not saying the atmosphere in the office is bad. Of course not!

But I can guarantee you this:

  • Everyone is going to experience in their career that people try to steal from you.
  • That your trust will be damaged by a direct colleague
  • If this happens at the wrong time in your career, it could cost you your job or even thousands of dollars in bonus!

But if you remain aware of this risk and you always wonder what the real motives are for the behavior of your colleagues and you remain extremely critical… Then you see such a moment coming in time and you still have a good possibility of a strong counterreaction. This will limit the damage and get you out of this nasty situation much stronger.

10 Tips to protect you from a colleague: Your biggest career competitor

What are concrete tips to remember and to apply yourself in the office? How do you deal with a colleague who’s trying to steal from you throughout your career? Who behind your back talks negatively about you with other colleagues or even with an executive? In other words, how do you make your colleagues afraid of you, respect you and leave you alone? Here are my ten tips to help you in the tough real world out there .

  1. Don’t trust any of your colleagues. It doesn’t matter how beautiful and friendly they are.
  2. Be paranoid with people and always explore the scenario “what if…?”.
  3. Wonder if someone could have a double agenda and maybe he’s not telling the truth.
  4. Trust only yourself and your own instincts!
  5. Look critically at other people’s decisions and motives. Wonder: Do they do it for the common purpose or just to help themselves?
  6. If someone tries to attack you or cheat on you, you should strike back! For example, when your colleague tries to steal your sales leads. Then threaten your colleague with next steps, potential penalties, and make sure it never happens again. Above all, threaten that you will present this incident to HR and your manager. This way your colleagues will know from now on that they shouldn’t mess with you and leave you alone! Otherwise, it happens over and over again. For the rest of your career, these people will try to keep taking advantage of you. After all, you would have become easy prey for them if you did nothing!
  7. Be social in the workplace and show your good side. Offer help or to back up your colleagues when they are out on holidays. Do this suddenly during a sales meeting, so that everyone can witness your beautiful gesture! Including your manager! He’s going to quickly see you as the ideal example and his confidant.
  8. Be a nice guy too! Help colleagues who are struggling. Guide them and let as many people as possible know that you are helping them. At least your manager and tell it nice and casual to other managers and especially the HR manager.
  9. Never tell your colleagues about your job application plans to leave the company. Always keep it a secret! Really…! No matter how well you know and trust your colleague. It always leaks out! Your colleague will use it against you in a subtle way as well. For example, by telling your manager that he suspects you are leaving anyway so that your manager better give this big project to your colleague! If your colleague tells you that he’s dissatisfied and might want to work somewhere else, you’re still keeping your plans to yourself. Keep them a secret. Don’t share them with anyone! I have experienced it several times and this happens often! Besides, it doesn’t help you by sharing it. Zero! Nothing! You can only lose, so why share that sensitive information with your colleagues?
  10. If a colleague asks you for advice or help, always ask for something in return. Something that will make you better now, or something you can use in the future. Never do anything for nothing. Why? Your time is super precious, and you don’t want colleagues to think that when it suits them, they can always knock on your door? By asking for something in return, you can call on your colleagues again later. They’ll also be more inclined to help you again. For example, in return, ask that a colleague during the sales meeting thank you publicly for your help. Ask him if he speaks positively and casually about you with your manager. Let him promise that he will later give you a new client or project, but never do anything for nothing without some form of quid pro quo!

Change your mindset about work and colleagues

Change your mindset and look at your work and your colleagues differently and especially critically. Colleagues are your teammates, but they are also your main competitors! Just like the selection of a professional football team. It’s the same in your department and in the office. You train together and share a common goal, but ultimately all those players want to make even more money and achieve success. They all want to be in the starting line-up, at the expense of your own starting place in the team!

So you’re always going to have to be on your guard. You have to try to find a subtle balance, to be both a social team player and a tough guy. A “tought guy or girl“, who distrusts everyone and never lets himself be cheated on by his colleagues. If you play this game well and smarter than your colleagues, you can’t help but become the best in your company and make a lot of money and become the most successful salesman and the most respected colleague in your company!

Book source

This is an excerpt from the book “The corporate sales winners guide: Transform your life and become a top sales performer” by Gerrit Jan de Vries. View the ebook and the paperback version on Amazon.


Hi my name is GJ. I like to create content on Wordpress and YouTube in the field of car detailing, IT, product tests, travel and career. I’m also a freelance SEO writer, business development and sales professional - Specializing in data center colocation, IoT and global connectivity. I provide interim management and IT consulting services.

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