Regardless of how fortunate you are to be working with a great group of supportive, caring coworkers, there always seems to be at least one person that makes your work life less than ideal.
While this coworker can be condescending and belittling to the people beneath him, he pretends to be the ideal team player whenever his direct supervisor is around. The bully makes sure his superiors know, in great detail, everything he does, regardless of how trivial and meaningless. And not only does he take credit for whatever he does, but this jerk will gladly take credit for your work or the work of your colleagues, too.
Like venomous snakes, regardless of our good intentions, we will never be able to form close, trusting relationships with these kinds of people. Instead, we have to find a way to manage the situation, not the person. We cannot make someone do something; we can only manage ourselves.
Rather than suffer emotional anguish and at some point lose our emotional control with them, making ourselves look bad, we must use our emotional intelligence to recognize and understand our emotions and the emotions of others when dealing with these types of people.
To handle the office jerk, include the following strategies in your plan of action:
1. Remain polite but only give them the information that is absolutely necessary as determined by your superiors.
2. Screen all information that you give them. Never give out anything that can be used against you.
3. If you feel angry and want to lash out at the person, take a few deep breaths, count to 10, or remove yourself from the situation until you have had a chance to calm down and gather your thoughts.
4. In meetings and in front of your supervisors, praise other coworkers for good work they have done. You must be sincere about this. In doing this, you appear to be a good team player and supportive of your coworkers. This may irritate your nemesis. However, as much as this may bother them, complaining will only make them look small and a poor team player.
5. Cultivate good working relationships with other members on your team and your supervisors. You will need their support. Likely you aren’t the only one who feels this way about this person, and positive relations with others will distract you and balance out negative feelings you have towards the one coworker.
6. If your nemesis becomes angry and verbally lashes out, remain calm and in control of your emotions. Do whatever you have to, but do not get caught up in their emotions. You will end up looking good and your nemesis will look foolish.
7. Record any bullying or harassment from them as soon as possible after the incident happens. Let your supervisor know that you have done this.
[Image: Flickr user greg westfall]