Whether we like it or not, people often have a secret agenda – and while it is not necessarily a bad thing, it is in your best interest to pay attention to your surroundings and manage your expectations accordingly, especially at work. Here are five signs that your team member has a secret agenda.

Not forthright about their interests – when your team member sends out conflicting messages about a project you’re working on and what attempts to confuse the issue. There may be a hidden agenda that he or she is trying to deflect you from.

Manipulative When someone tries to manipulate the situation to have you go down the wrong path. If something is not quite as it seems, take a step back and assess. If you recently changed your mind after someone appealed to you emotionally, evaluate if it was sincere or if you just got manipulated.

Avoidant A coworker with a secret agenda may be frequently missing or distracted. If you notice this happening accompanied by hushed conversations, without any reasonable expectation, it may be a good idea to look into it. If they are avoiding the question, it’s possible they may have a secret agenda they are trying to hide.

Strong reactions On the other hand, instead of avoiding, a team member may have surprisingly strong reactions to a particular direction or suggestion. They may ask leading questions to redirect the plan. Seem excessively upset about a certain outcome. Such strong attachment to a particular outcome may also indicate a different agenda.

Playing the field In a meeting you may notice a coworker always respond when another manager is asking questions, linger back at the end of the meeting to walk the other manager out and overall look to please the other team. This may be an indication of a second agenda that is being played out. Possibly even an upcoming request to transfer groups.

When all’s said and done, secret agendas often surface in due time. In the meantime, keep your eyes wide open and watch out for all those subtle signals.


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