Fighting Back Against the Office Jerk while Keeping your Dignity Intact
Regardless of how great and supportive (most) of your coworkers are, there will almost always be someone that makes your work life less than ideal. This individual seems to be looking for opportunities to impress the boss and spends an inordinate amount of time speaking just to hear themselves talk. While they can be mean and condescending to people beneath them, they are sweet angels and the ideal team players whenever their direct supervisors or other superiors are around. They make sure their superiors know everything they do, regardless of how trivial and meaningless. They take credit for whatever they do and will even take credit for the work of others. They look for opportunities to belittle your work in front of their supervisors to make themselves look good.
These types of people have an agenda, and being a friendly coworker is not on it. They are ruthless and are only out for themselves, regardless of the cost to others. Instead of going about the futile exercise of attempting to gain their friendship, it is more productive to simply find a way to manage the situation, not the person.
It takes a well-planned strategy to deal with these people, but it is better than suffering emotional anguish and at some point losing emotional control with them and making yourself look bad. Using our emotional intelligence to recognize and understand our emotions and the emotions of others is a crucial skill when dealing with office jerks. A useful strategy would likely include some or all of the following elements:
• Remain polite, but only give them the information that is absolutely necessary as determined by your superiors.
• Screen all information that you give them. Never give out anything that can be used against you.
• If you feel angry and want to lash out at the person, remove yourself from the situation until you have had a chance to calm down and gather your thoughts.
• In meetings and in front of your supervisors, praise other coworkers for good work they have done. In doing so, you appear a good team player and supportive of your coworkers. However much this may bother the bully, complaining will only make him or her look petty.
• Cultivate good working relationships with other members on your team and your supervisors. You will need their support. You probably are not 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 that one coworker.
• Remain calm and in control of your emotions if you are verbally attacked. Do not get caught up in their emotions. You will end up looking good and the bully will look foolish.
• Record any bullying or harassment from them as soon as possible after the incident happens. Let your supervisor know that you have done this.