Work Politics

How to Respond to Gaslighting at Work (+ Examples)

How to Respond to Gaslighting at Work

If you’ve ever been made to question your own reality at work. Welcome to the club. 

Gaslighting is a common tactic used by narcissists to make you doubt yourself.  But don’t fall for it. 

Recognizing and knowing how to respond to gaslighting at work is key to protecting your peace

This article teaches you actionable techniques that will empower you to handle gaslighting at work like a pro.  

What is Gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic that messes with your self-assurance, causes self-doubt, and creates a toxic work environment.

It happens when someone tries to plant doubt in the mind of another person, leading them to doubt their memory, perspective, or sanity. 

In the workplace, gaslighting can look like undermining achievements, spreading false rumors, or subtly discrediting opinions. 

Recognizing what it looks like is the first step in effectively responding to gaslighting.

How to Respond to Gaslighting 

1. Trust Your Gut 

Gaslighting usually starts subtly, with the person attempting to distort your truth. 

Trust your instincts and know your feelings well enough to know when something is off. 

Take some time to reflect. By knowing who you are, you shut down any attempts to twist your truth.

Example: 

Sarah, an advertising exec, noticed her colleague downplaying her contributions in group meetings

Despite receiving praise from customers and supervisors, her colleagues disregard her thoughts as insignificant. Trusting her gut, Sarah decides to deal with the issue.

2. Document The Gaslighting

Keeping track of gaslighting incidents can be an effective strategy. Documenting dates, times, and info on the interactions, can be useful if you later decide to confront the gaslighter or involve HR.

Example: 

Alex, an IT professional, experienced gaslighting from his coworker who constantly took credit for his work. Alex began keeping a log of every incident, including a clear account of the gaslighting behavior. 

3. Get External Validation

Share your experiences with friends, trusted co-workers, or mentors who can offer a different perspective.

Seeking validation from others can help reaffirm your reality and offer emotional support. 

Example: 

Maya, a project manager, experienced gaslighting from her supervisor, who minimized her accomplishments. 

She confided in her work bestie who has witnessed Maya’s achievements, offering much-needed external validation.

4. Set Boundaries

Establishing clear boundaries is important in shutting down gaslighting. 

Communicate assertively and express your concerns about the behavior. Stick to your boundaries at all cost. If you don’t respect your boundaries, no one else will. 

Example: 

Jane, a sales consultant, faced gaslighting from a team member who continuously undermined her experience. 

Jane addressed the issue immediately, setting boundaries and making it clear that such behavior is unacceptable.

5. Confront the Gaslighter

If the situation doesn’t improve, confronting the gaslighter is a good next step. 

Speak to the person only once you’ve had a chance to process your emotions and get external validation. 

Use “I” statements to express your emotions, to avoid accusations. Involve a mediator or HR if necessary.

Promoting a Gaslighting-Free Workplace Culture 

If you’re a leader in the workplace, understand that you hold the power to create a gaslighting-free culture.  

Beyond individual responses to gaslighting, there are techniques that you can implement to create a non-toxic workplace. 

1. Educate Your Team 

Awareness is a powerful weapon for fighting gaslighting. Company leaders must invest in teaching workers about the signs and symptoms of gaslighting, its impact on people, and how to prevent it.

Workshops, trainings, or educational campaigns can all help get the message across. 

2. Make Reporting Easy 

Make it easy for employees to file complaints about gaslighting. 

Encouraging open communication and assuring people that their worries will be dealt with creates a safe workplace. 

Prompt responses to complaints prove that the company is serious about addressing toxic behaviors.

3. Encourage Feedback

Constructive feedback is essential to professional development, but it must be brought up respectfully. 

Promote a culture where feedback is precise, timely, and focused on behaviors and isn’t personal. 

4. Be an Example 

As a leader, you play a key role in determining the culture of the workplace. 

When leaders exemplify respectful communication, humility, and acknowledgment of others’ contributions, it sets the tone for the team.

Being a good example reinforces the expectation that gaslighting isn’t tolerated.

5. Implement Anti-Gaslighting Policies

In addition to providing a process for dealing with gaslighting, formal guidelines that specifically address gaslighting can help discourage it.  

These rules should define consequences for gaslighting behaviors. 

Responding To Gaslighting at Work 

Responding to gaslighting at work takes patience, self-awareness, and strategic action. 

By recognizing the signs, trusting your gut, documenting incidents, getting validation, and confronting the gaslighter, you can take back your power. And shut down gaslighting for good.

Hopefully, this article gives you a starting point. If you’re new here, subscribe for access to our Free Career Center!

 
Make It Your Year
Get exclusive access to 20+ Free Resources to upgrade your career! 
 
Thanks! Keep an eye on your inbox for updates.

Over To You

Have you ever experienced gaslighting at work?

Let us know in the comments section on social @netwerkmovement. 

FAQs

1. What is gaslighting, and how does it happen in the place of a job? 

Gaslighting is a type of psychological manipulation that seeks to make people doubt their perception, memory, or sanity. 

In the workplace, it may show up as subtle undermining, spreading fake rumors, or discrediting a person’s achievements to create a toxic environment.

2. How do I know if I’m experiencing gaslighting?

Signs of gaslighting include chronic undermining, denial of statistics, manipulation of facts, and trying to make you doubt your talents or sanity. 

If you are aware of a regular pattern of such behavior, you might be experiencing gaslighting.

3. What should I do if I suspect I’m being gaslit at work? 

Trust your instincts, document incidents, get external validation from trusted advisers, set barriers, and confront the gaslighter when appropriate. 

Maintaining a report and seeking help from HR or management can be important steps.

4. How can companies cope with gaslighting in the workplace? 

Companies can deal with gaslighting through trainings, setting up easy reporting channels, encouraging feedback, and enforcing anti-gaslighting rules. Regularly reviewing and updating these guidelines is vital.

5. What is bystander intervention, and in what way can it assist in fighting gaslighting? 

Bystander intervention entails people helping colleagues who may be experiencing gaslighting. 

Encouraging bystander intervention distributes the obligation of preserving a healthy place of job lifestyle and indicates that gaslighting is not tolerated. 

Shop Our Products

The Modern Guide To Leading When You’re Not The Boss

The Ultimate Guide For Building A High-Value Network

ATS Friendly Templates To Share Your Achievements With Ease And Sophistication

Your First Line of Defense Against Underemployment

Your First Line of Defense Against Underemployment

A curated collection of must-have tools to get you promoted

60 Printable Sassy Career Affirmation Cards To End Underemployment

The Modern Guide To Self-Promotion

Your First Line of Defense Against Underemployment

A curated collection of must-have tools to get you promoted

60 Printable Sassy Career Affirmation Cards To End Underemployment

The Modern Guide To Self-Promotion

The Modern Guide To Leading When You’re Not The Boss

The Ultimate Guide For Building A High-Value Network

ATS Friendly Templates To Share Your Achievements With Ease And Sophistication

Your First Line of Defense Against Underemployment

author-avatar

About NetWerk®

NetWerk® is the destination for the next generation of leaders. Our mission is to help 1 million women get promoted by 2030. Subscribe for exclusive access to our Free Career Center! View all posts by NetWerk®

Related Posts