HUMAN RESOURCES / NOV. 03, 2014
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How to Not Allow Co-workers to Boss You Around

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There is a difference between being a team player and being bossed around in your workplace. If you allow co-workers to boss you around at work, you are setting yourself up for failure. Experiencing such behavior exhibited toward you can negatively impact your job performance and destroy your self-confidence. It is important for you to learn how to set definitive boundaries and stick to them in the workplace. This article will address how to not allow co-workers to boss you around.

Where to Begin

It is vital that you maintain a clear-headed focus and exhibit professional behaviour in the workplace as you deal with a bossy co-worker. The worst thing you can do is to react harshly rather than to respond professionally. There are three basic steps to help you begin the process of dealing with this issue.

1. Assess the Situation

The situation is not going to right itself without a push from you in conjunction with genuine support from others. Before you solve the problem, you need to admit that there is an issue. You may have been experiencing this bossy behaviour from a co-worker for weeks or months but have chosen to ignore it as best you could and hoped it would stop. A bossy person is not going to stop the negative behaviour unless you assert yourself and set boundaries.

2. Set Boundaries

Setting boundaries is not always an easy task; especially when you’ve been on the receiving end of negative and hurtful behaviour. Bossy people generally target introverts and non-aggressive people. There is nothing wrong with being introverted, except when you allow that part of you to be a doormat. Set aside the victim mentality and make a decision to positively assert yourself.

3. Implement a Game Plan

In this third step, you are going to create and implement a game plan that will help you to regain your self-confidence level and assert your own self-authority. You must create a focused and effective plan that maintains professional integrity and does not disrupt the workplace environment; but rather, improves it.

Finish Strong

The second part of this process is to mesh these factors—a decisive attitude, desire for boundaries and specific game plan—into your workplace environment for positive results through the following three steps.

1. Face the Facts

Start at the beginning and review your current job description. If you are confident in your assigned tasks and know that you are working to the best of your ability, then you will be better able to positively refute a bossy directive from a co-worker. For example, if your co-worker is tasked with a specific job, but continually tries to get you to take over, you must stand up for yourself. When you are armed with the facts, the fight becomes a winning battle for you.

2. Respond Appropriately

Figure out a game plan on how you will respond to the bossy co-worker. Relying on the impulse of the moment can quickly backfire on you. Once you have armed yourself with the facts, ascertain the most comfortable countering statements and practice a positive and professional tone. For example, you can say with assurance that your manager has tasked you with your own specific daily directives. Remember that whining about something “not being your job,” won’t diffuse a fiery situation with a bossy co-worker. State the facts in a calm manner and be secure in your presentation.

3. Seek Assistance

There may be some situations where additional assistance is needed. If the bossy co-worker continues to exhibit negative and overbearing behaviour, you should speak to your manager or someone in the HR Department. If you have a trusted colleague, you can have a private conversation discussing the situation and your game plan. However, remember that it is important to never cause a scene and disrupt the daily routine in the workplace.

Positively enacting change, when dealing with a bossy co-worker, can become an easier process if you think before you speak. It is important to implement a game plan that defines clear boundary lines and showcases your self-confidence. The process must be completed by utilizing the facts and responding in an appropriate manner.

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