Four Ways to Handle a Condescending Coworker

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We don’t all the time get to collaborate with individuals who have mastered the nuances of communication within the office. You could not be capable to change the habits of others, however you possibly can at the least be taught to successfully take care of them to reduce the impression and struggling on you, your confidence, and your work.

This put up initially appeared on The Muse.

Recently, a advertising agency referred to as to solicit my enterprise. They wished me to enroll in their companies, which included a web-based discussion board to supply and market courses based mostly on my content material. The younger advertising rep was explaining all of the options and advantages to me. Among them was a dedication to assist produce social media posts, he defined, asking me in a relatively condescending tone, “Do you already know what social media is, Lea?” Could he have been extra patronizing—or much less knowledgeable about his potential buyer?

Maybe you already know a colleague who often employs an analogous sort of verbal smackdown. This kind of passive-aggressive habits is supposed to place you in your house, despite the fact that it’s typically disguised as cheap or pleasant. Think of it as sugarcoated antagonism.

Patronizing people speak all the way down to you. Their purpose is to really feel superior at your expense, leading to you feeling belittled and inferior. You want a very good recreation plan to defend towards this sort of habits—or else your self-confidence goes to take a giant hit.

Try one among these methods to maintain your cool and never sink to the extent of the offending occasion.

1. Don’t Take it Personally

First and foremost, preserve calm and stick with it, as they are saying. If you take things personally, it’ll really feel like this individual is attacking you, and in flip, you’ll set off a worry response mechanism in your mind.

When that occurs you are likely to make much less clear and logical selections, and also you resort to extra emotional ones. Remember, this individual may be making an attempt to impress you. And when you let her, say, by lashing out to defend your self and telling her what a jerk she is, you’ll simply be enjoying proper into her arms. Be calm, constructive, and by no means underestimate the power of kindness in a damaging scenario.

2. Call Them on It

You can handle bad office behavior by telling individuals when their actions usually are not okay with you. Calmly and professionally name out the patronizing individual with out with out making a scene or being dramatic by pointedly but politely saying, “Gee, that remark sounded a bit condescending to me. Mind dropping the angle?” Hopefully, he takes you up on the do-over alternative.

If you’re feeling defensive and as if you would possibly react emotionally, one of the best factor may be to stroll away and never take care of this individual proper now. You can say one thing like, “When you’re prepared to talk to me in a much less condescending tone, I’ll be at my desk.” This offers you an opportunity to breathe, decompress, and collect your ideas earlier than chatting with this individual once more.

three. Neutralize Your Body Language

Assuming that the annoying co-worker is making an attempt to impress you, it’s finest to reply as neutrally as doable. That means sustaining positive body language and non-hostile expressions. Avoid pointing fingers, rolling your eyes, invading the individual’s private area, and crossing your arms. Those are indicators that inform her she nailed it—if, in truth, she was making an attempt to piss you off.

Do your finest to take care of a peaceful and impartial demeanor. Stand up straight, take up your area, don’t shrink again in offense, and maintain your floor—each bodily and mentally.

four. Ask for Clarification

Some colleagues could come from a special office tradition or be accustomed to chatting with others in a sure manner that they don’t acknowledge as being inappropriate. Your co-worker who asks when you perceive the boss’ memo in a tone that you simply discover reproachable? He could actually be clueless, fully unaware of how he’s offended you. If your co-worker has different recognizable good traits, and the occasional dip into this sort of rudeness is uncommon, you would possibly wish to concentrate on the context of what he’s saying and never the tone.

If you could, ask for clarification. You might say one thing like, “I wish to be certain we’re on the identical web page and what you’re saying now’s throwing me off. I perceive [what your co-worker’s being condescending about], is there anything I’m lacking?”

Depending in your consolation degree with this colleague, you could possibly take into account letting him know the way you (and probably others) are perceiving the message based mostly on tone of voice. He could admire the heads up.

Remember that different individuals’s habits is all the time extra about them than it’s about you. An excerpt from Don Miguel Ruiz’s The Four Agreements: A Practical Guide to Personal Freedom, explains this concept effectively: “What others say and do is a projection of their very own actuality, their very own dream. When you might be proof against the opinions and actions of others, you gained’t be the sufferer of pointless struggling.”

4 Better Ways to Handle a Condescending Co-Worker Than Stooping to His Level | The Muse


Lea McLeod coaches individuals of their jobs when the going will get robust. Bad bosses. Challenging co-workers. Self-sabotage that retains you working too lengthy. She’s the founding father of the Job Success Lab and writer of the The Resume Coloring Book. Get began along with her free 21 Days to Peace at Work e-series. Book one-on-one teaching classes with Lea on The Muse’s Coach Connect. Image by Blueguy (Shutterstock).

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