How deal with an overbearing coworker with minimal effort is a challenging deal. You have to be careful not to ruin your working relationships.
What will I learn?
Overbearing coworkers tend to be very bossy, demanding, and always need to be in control.
How To Deal With An Overbearing Coworker – 12 Minimal Tips
If you have a coworker like this, it can be very frustrating and challenging to deal with them.
There are a few things that you can do to deal with an overbearing coworker:
1. Talk To Them Personally:
The first thing that you should do is to talk to your coworker about their behavior.
Try to have a calm and respectful conversation with them. Let them know how their behavior is affecting you.
Start with, “I need to talk to you about something bothering me.” Then explain calmly how their behavior is making you feel.
“I feel disrespected when you talk to me like that.” Or “I feel like you are overshadowing my growth.”
Try to be as calm and respectful as possible when you have this conversation. This way, your coworker is more likely to listen to you and change their behavior.
Once they know how their behavior impacts you, they may be more open to change. And if they’re not, you can at least take solace in the fact that you tried.
Sometimes overbearing behavior comes from a place of insecurity. So, your coworker may not even realize that they’re being bossy or demanding.
It’s essential to have this conversation. This way they will know their behavior and how it’s affecting you.
2. Set Boundaries:
It’s important to set boundaries with your overbearing coworker. Let them know what you will and will not tolerate from them.
For example, you can say, “I’m not comfortable with being shouted at. I’d appreciate it if you would speak to me calmly.”
Or “I’m happy to help you with your work, but I can’t do it all the time. I need some time to work on my projects as well.”
It’s essential to be assertive when you’re setting boundaries. You don’t want to come across as weak or scared.
Your coworker needs to know that you’re serious about setting these boundaries. And if they don’t respect your limits, you may need further action.
Usually, overbearing coworkers will back off if they know that you’re not going to tolerate their behavior.
But in some cases, they may not. In which case, you may need to talk to your boss or HR about the situation.
3. Ignore Them:
Sometimes the best thing you can do is to ignore your overbearing coworker.
This may be hard since they’re probably always demanding your attention. Or you have to work closely with them on projects.
But if you can manage to ignore them, it may be the best solution. It’s essential to stay focused on your work and not let their behavior bother you.
If you engage with them, it will only give them the attention that they want. And attention is what they’re seeking.
So, the best thing you can do is to focus on your work and ignore them as much as possible.
Best ways to ignore your coworker without them knowing:
– Don’t make eye contact with them
– Pretend you’re busy and can’t talk
– Walk away when they approach you
– Respond to their emails and texts late saying you were busy
You can also try to avoid them altogether. If you have the option, take a different route to the restroom or lunchroom.
Sit at a separate table in the break room. And try to work on other projects than they are. The more you can distance yourself from them, the better.
4. Rely On Others:
Relying on others means you have someone to vent to about your overbearing coworker.
It’s essential to have someone to talk to so that you don’t let their behavior affect you.
This person can be a friend, family member, or therapist. Whoever it is, make sure they’re someone you can trust and rely on.
You should also try to build a support system at work. This could be a group of people who you can go to when you’re feeling overwhelmed or stressed.
These people can support you and help you deal with your overbearing coworker.
5. Stand Up For Yourself:
If you’re tired of putting up with your overbearing coworker’s behavior, it’s time to stand up for yourself.
This doesn’t mean you must get into a shouting match with them. But it does mean that you must be assertive and clear about what you will and will not tolerate.
For example, you can say, “I’m not going to put up with your rude comments anymore. If you can’t speak to me respectfully, then I will not listen to you.”
Or “I’m not going to do your work for you. If you want something done, you need to do it yourself.”
Standing up for yourself comes under being assertive. The difference is that when you’re being strong, you’re not trying to attack the other person.
You’re simply stating your own needs and wants. This is an important distinction to make.
When you’re being assertive, you’re not being confrontational. You’re simply setting boundaries and clarifying what you will and will not tolerate.
6. Be The Better Person:
Sometimes, the best thing you can do is be the better person.
This doesn’t mean that you must put up with their bad behavior. But it does mean that you should try to be understanding and compassionate.
For example, if they’re having a bad day, you can try to be understanding. Or, if they’re going through a tough time, you can offer them support.
In some cases, being the better person can diffuse a situation. And it can also make you feel better about yourself.
Your overbearing coworker may not be the wrong person. They may just be going through a tough time.
7. Manipulate Them If They’re Manipulative:
If your overbearing coworker is manipulative, you may need to manipulate them back.
This doesn’t mean that you need to be dishonest or sneaky. But it does mean that you must be aware of their tactics and use them to your advantage.
For example, they’re always trying to get you to do their work. You can say that you’ll do it only if they do something for you.
Or they’re always trying to get you to stay late at work. You can say that you’ll stay late but only if they buy you dinner.
There’s nothing wrong with using their tactics against them. It may be the only way to get them to back off.
8. Take A Break:
If you’re overwhelmed by your overbearing coworker, it’s essential to take a break.
This doesn’t mean that you need to quit your job or take a vacation. But it does mean that you need to take some time for yourself.
For example, you can take a few days off work. Or you can go for a walk during your lunch break.
You can also try to find ways to relax after work. This could include yoga, reading, or listening to music.
Taking a break will help you to rejuvenate and recharge. And it will also help you to deal with your overbearing coworker more effectively.
9. Talk To Your Boss Or HR:
If you’ve tried to talk to your coworker and set boundaries, but nothing has changed, it may be time to talk to your boss or HR.
This is the last resort since it could damage your relationship with your coworker.
But if their behavior affects your work, it’s worth talking to someone about it.
Your boss may be able to talk to your coworker and get them to change their behavior.
Or, they may be willing to move you to a different project or seat you at a separate table in the break room.
If you decide to talk to HR, they may be able to help you as well. They may be able to speak to your coworker or even file a formal complaint.
But, they may also decide to do nothing. So, it’s essential to weigh the pros and cons before you take this step.
So before you take this step, you should:
– Talk to your boss first
– Consider how serious the problem is
– Think about how it will affect your relationship with your coworker
10. Have Documentation Ready:
If you decide to talk to HR, be prepared to give them specific examples of your coworker’s behavior.
It’s essential to have documentation so they can see that this is a severe problem.
Some examples of documentation you may have:
– Emails or texts from your coworker that are rude or offensive
– A written record of any incidents that have happened
– Witnesses who can attest to your coworker’s behavior
The more documentation you have, the better. This will help HR see that this is a serious problem and not just a one-time thing.
11. Mind Your Work:
An excellent way to stop the impact of an overbearing coworker is to focus on your work.
This may seem complicated with all the distractions. But it’s important to remember that you’re not responsible for their behavior.
You’re only responsible for your own. So, try to focus on your work and let them worry about their own.
Some tips to help you focus on your work:
– Put your phone away
– Get up and move around every few hours
– Take breaks
– Set a timer
This way, the overbearing coworker can’t bother you. You can tell yourself that you only have X amount of time left. And then, you can focus on your work until the timer goes off.
So now you know how to deal with an overbearing coworker. But what if you’re the one who’s being overbearing?
12. Be Aware Of Your Behavior Too:
If you’re the one who’s being overbearing, it’s essential to be aware of your behavior.
This doesn’t mean that you need to change your behavior. But it does mean that you must be aware of how your behavior affects those around you.
For example, are you always talking over people? Do you always need to be right?
Do you interrupt others when they’re speaking? Do you always need to have the last word?
These are all signs that you may be overbearing. And if you’re not careful, you could alienate those around you.
Dealing with an overbearing coworker can be difficult. But it’s important to remember that you have options.
You can try to talk to your coworker and set boundaries. Be assertive when you do this.
And if that doesn’t work, you can always talk to your boss or HR. Remember to be prepared to give them specific examples of your coworker’s behavior.
Last Updated on 7 months by Shahzaib Arshad
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