How to Deal With Bossy Coworkers

Has anyone had the experience of having a coworker that acts like a supervisor? Someone who tells you what you’re doing wrong, what you should be doing, tries to bully you into doing things more like they do them, etc? I have had someone like this at every job I’ve worked (excluding the positions I’ve worked where I didn’t have coworkers). Shout out to Sandy, Shanda, Summer, and Nicole! It can be maddening to have people attempt to direct you when they are in no position to do so. And considering most people work at least 40 hours a week, it can really have a negative impact on your life. However, I have found some productive ways to diffuse these situations.

Ignore them. They are not your supervisor, and so you do not owe them an answer of explanation for the way you do things. Be civil, but do not respond when they are attempting to put you on the defensive, criticize you, or change your work style.

Assess yourself honestly and consider if you’re in the wrong. Maybe you do need to change something regarding your job performance or the way you interact with others at work. Maybe you are being inconsiderate or violating work policies. Perhaps they are confronting you about it, giving you the chance to improve, before going to a supervisor because they don’t want you getting in trouble. Ask them to give specific examples of what they believe you’re doing wrong. They might have some merit. If they can’t give examples, you’ve called their bluff.

Keep your cool. By responding angrily, you will be the one who appears at fault, even if their stance has no merit. Don’t take the bait. Always take the high road.

Tell them to go to your supervisor. If you are doing nothing wrong and they continue to harass you, suggest they do not contact you anymore but instead go to your supervisor. If you are not in the wrong, their going to your supervisor will only make them look petty, foolish, jealous, and difficult.

I think there are different reasons for this type of bossy behavior. Some people are arrogant and believe they know more than you do. Some people are insecure and are going on the attack because it feels better than being on the defense. Some people are attempting to get the attention of the boss because they want to be promoted. Does anybody have other tips or tricks that have proven effective in dealing with a bossy coworker? If so, please share!

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