5 Ways How To Deal Politely With An Overbearing Coworker

Angry Person

Photo by Mario MancusoCC BY 2.0

Do you have a colleague who behaves like he or she is your boss? Rubbishing your work, poking his nose in every affair of yours, and sometimes shifting his workload to your head? If yes, then we assure you that you are not the only sufferer. These overbearing coworkers have a natural flair for turning their normal colleagues into a raging bull or nervous wreck!

We bring you 5 effective and polite ways to deal with an officious colleague that you should always follow:

1. Assess The Current Situation

When your bossy coworker starts finding faults in your work, then you shouldn’t become defensive all of a sudden. Just go through your work to make sure that you haven’t made any errors. If you find your work satisfactory then you can calmly point out this fact to him.

To your chagrin, if you end up discovering a few mistakes, still there is no need to despair. Keep in mind that, “to err is human.”

Say a polite ‘thank you’ to him and rectify those blunders. Unfortunately, you might have to endure his derision and ‘I-told-you-so’ attitude for a while!

2. Control Your Voice And Emotions

When a coworker orders you around, criticizes your work, and constantly interrupts you while you are talking, then you either feel miserable or lose your temper. However yelling or wailing will only make you look unprofessional and melodramatic.

So, take deep breaths, count to ten, put up a fake smile, assert yourself, and continue with what you were doing.

3. Stand Up For Yourself

Asserting yourself, whenever your irritating colleague starts his ‘crossing-his-limits’ act, makes him aware that you are not a pushover. Up your confidence level, use tact, and speak out politely!

  • Case 1: you are busy doing a task assigned by your boss and your overbearing coworker tries to butt in
    Your coworker might try to appear helpful, mask his commands as advises and compel you to carry out them. Simply decline his unsolicited suggestions with politeness. If he starts arguing then you can always remind him that he is not your boss. This will surely put your wanna-be-boss in his place!
  • Case 2: You are in a midst of a conversation and your bossy coworker starts interrupting you. No need to sit back or curse under your breath every time he interrupts you. Take a direct approach, be civilized, and simply ask him to let you complete your statement.
  • Case 3: Your colleague tries to dump his workload on you. Tell the coworker that your boss has already given you an assignment to complete. Ask him to talk to the boss if he is unable to finish his task on his own.

4. Have A Private Chat With The Coworker

This will help you to confront your colleague about his boorish behavior and sort out any underlying issues, privately. Keep the conversation light and try to reason with him, amicably.

  • Inform him that his bossy behavior is affecting your work productivity and mental state.
  • Point out his own work responsibilities and explain that he needs to concentrate on his own assignment.
  • Gently remind him of his own work-related mistakes committed earlier and thus making him aware that others also know about his faults.
  • Ask him to treat you with respect if he expects the same from you, in return.

5. Seek Your Boss’s Intervention

If the offending colleague continues with his bossiness and refuses to change his behavior despite your repeated reminders, then it’s high time to apprise your boss about your coworker-related problems. Explain to him how your colleague’s behavior has affected your work negatively. You can also cite some past incidents to explain your plight. Try to make it look like you are seeking his professional advice regarding the issue!

Almost all bossy people manage to get away with their overbearing behavior because they don’t face any resistance from their coworkers. Discuss this situation with your colleagues and take a collective stand against the office-bully, to ensure that he is forced to mend his ways, without losing his job!