How To Cope with an Arrogant Co-Worker

The workplace is often rife with conflicts and competition. You might be new in your department or you might have been working for years. Before you know it, you might have a workmate who is so arrogant and pushy that you cannot stand being with him in the same room, floor or building.

Arrogant co-workers can do two things. They can push you too hard so that you become unproductive. Or, they can help bring out the best in you. Here are a few ways of coping with an arrogant co-worker.

Establish boundaries. Pushy co-workers would often watch you work over your shoulder, or try bending your will to their whims. This is especially true when you’re the new guy at the office. They might tell you how to do your job. Or, they might be over-confident and try to belittle you and your efforts. Whatever the case, establish boundaries early on. If a co-worker is often sticking his head into your cubicle trying to point out what you are doing wrong, then keep him away. Calmly and firmly tell him that your office space is sacred, and that you prefer to work in private.

Stay professional. An arrogant co-worker can sometimes get into your nerves when he crosses the line between professional and private lives. The key here is to stay professional. Remember that you are at work to make a living, and not to make friends. You don’t necessarily have to please your workmate. If you can work productively while minimizing your interaction with him, then do so. Otherwise, keep your interactions work-related. This way, you minimize getting hurt and insulted, especially if your co-worker is fond of talking negatively about other people’s personal lives.

Stay polite. Whatever your co-worker says or does, stay polite. You don’t have to respond to everything he says or does. If you are provoked and turn to violence, then that will reflect badly on both your records. Just stay polite and avoid getting back at your arrogant co-worker by being arrogant and pushy yourself.

Get to know him. Most arrogant people are over-confident. They feel they are superior do to something that they have that other people don’t. However, some people turn to arrogance as a defense mechanism or as a compensation for something that they lack. Try getting to know your co-worker. His arrogance might just be part of his personality, but he might be a professional worker, after all. It might be his façade, so that he doesn’t get pushed over in return. Whatever the reason for his arrogance, you might still be able to find something good in the situation.

Consult with the boss or Human Resources
. As a last resort, you can bring up your issues with your arrogant co-worker with your boss or with the company’s human resource department. They can look into your case, and determine if any disciplinary action might be required. Most of the time, an arrogant personality does not merit any disciplinary action. But if this is already affecting the productivity of people in the workplace, then the boss might have to talk to your co-worker to tone down a bit. If your co-worker’s actions are bordering on verbal or even sexual abuse, then this might be grounds for a more serious punishment, such as an administrative case or even a lawsuit.


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