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Dealing with Jerks, Back Stabbers, Bullies and Sycopants at Work
by Harvey Deutschendorf

 
   
 
   

They're found in every work place. 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 that makes your work life less than ideal. They always seem to be looking for opportunities to impress the boss and spend an inordinate amount of time speaking just to hear themselves. While they can be mean and condescending to people under them they are sweet angels, the ideal team players, whenever their direct report or other superiors are around.

They make sure that their superiors know, in great detail, everything that they do, regardless of how trivial and meaningless. Not only do they like to take credit for whatever they do, but will gladly take credit for your work or the work of your colleagues. Bullies by nature, they look for opportunities to belittle your work in front of their supervisors to make themselves look good.

Let’s make it clear at this point that these are not people that you just happen to have a misunderstanding with, a personality conflict or want to become closer to or befriend. These people have an agenda, and being your friend is not on it. They are ruthless people, only out for themselves and determined to get their way regardless of the cost to others around them. Like venomous snakes, regardless of our good intentions, we will never be able to form close trusting relationships with these people. What we have to do is find a way to manage them.

We need a plan of action, a strategy to deal with these people. Yes, it will take some thought and effort, but it is better than suffering emotional anguish and at some point losing our emotional control with them, making ourselves look bad. Using our emotional intelligence to recognize and understand our emotions and the emotions of others is a crucial skill when dealing with these types of people. To do this our strategy could include the following.

  • 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…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

  • In meetings and in front of your supervisors praise other coworkers for good work they have done. You must be sincere about this. Doing this will make you appear a good team player and supportive of your coworkers. As an added bonus it will likely irritate your nemesis. However much it bothers them, complaining will only make them look small and a poor team player.

  • 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.

  • If your nemesis becomes angry and verbally lashes out remain calm and in control of your emotions. Do whatever you have to, but don’t get caught up in their emotions. You will end up looking good and your nemesis will look foolish.

  • Record any bullying; harassment from them as soon as possible after it happens. Let your immediate superior know that you have done this and are prepared to take it to whoever deals with these issues in the organization if the incidents continue.

     
   
     
   

The Author

Harvey Deutschendorf

Harvey Deutschendorf is the author of THE OTHER KIND OF SMART, Simple Ways to Boost Your Emotional Intelligence for Greater Personal Effectiveness and Success, published by American Management Association
Chosen as one of the best books of 2009 by The CEO Refresher.

Visit www.theotherkindofsmart.com for additional information and email: harvey.eiguy@shaw.ca.

       
   
 
       
   
Many more articles in Emotional Intelligence in The CEO Refresher Archives
 
       
   
 
       
   
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Copyright 2011 by Harvey Deutschendorf. All rights reserved.

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