How to Handle a Bossy Co-worker

Handle a Bossy Co-worker

Do you have a co-worker who acts like they’re your boss or micromanage what you are doing? Perhaps they give you advice you didn’t ask for or insist on having things done their way? A bossy co-worker can cause conflicts, frustrate, make things difficult, or even interfere with your productivity. Before you lose your cool, try these tips for how to handle a bossy co-worker.

Steps to handle a bossy co-worker:

  1. Be firm. If you want things to change, it’s important to assert yourself. Acknowledge what you heard them say and then politely let them know you have your part covered and don’t require any assistance at this time. If it continues, you might have to schedule a more formal conversation with them, or last resort get your manager involved.
  2. Listen closely. There can be many different motives for the same behavior. Paying attention to what your co-worker is saying and doing will help them to feel that you respect their views and want to understand what they’re trying to accomplish. This allows you to be clear on what they are asking of you and make the determination of is it intrusive, as you think it is, or maybe it is reasonable.
  3. Stay calm. Your discussion will be more productive if you can avoid anger and judgments. While you’re addressing the one behavior that annoys you, think about your co-worker’s good points as well. Hopefully, they have at least one. This helps you stay calmer in the moment and prevents arguments.
  4. Set boundaries. Healthy relationships depend on establishing and enforcing reasonable boundaries. Whatever your colleague’s intentions, let them know that you wish to focus on your own work and expect them to do the same.
  5. Suggest a meeting. If no matter what you do nothing changes, you could suggest that you and your co-worker discuss the division of work with your boss. If your co-worker wants to avoid such a confrontation, they may become less intrusive.
  6. Hold yourself accountable. Examine your own conduct to determine what role you’ve been playing in any conflict. Ask yourself if your own insecurity or jealousy could be a factor. In addition, model the behavior you would want from them. Make sure to stay calm, firm, and compassionate.

Establishing clear boundaries and communicating effectively will help you to handle a co-worker who tends to be bossy. Being assertive changes the dynamic and creates an atmosphere where you can be heard. Even if your co-worker doesn’t change their behavior, you’ll be taking a professional and constructive approach to the situation, which will gain you greater respect as a result.