How to handle workplace jerks – Your Life

Marguerite Lamb

If an obnoxious colleague has you chomping antacids like candy, move over: A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study found that 71 percent of employees face condescension, general rudeness or worse at work, resulting in anxiety, depression and frequent thoughts of quitting. Here, experts offer strategies for preventing the office bully from derailing your career.

NEMESIS The Critic finds fault with even your best work.

Career Rx Elicit details, suggests Andrew DuBrin, a management professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology College of Business in New York and author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Leadership (Alpha Books, 2000). If your critic calls you impulsive, ask when you’ve acted too hastily. You’ll discourage baseless criticism while learning what’s expected of you.

NEMESIS The Idea Thief presents your innovative concepts as her own.

Career Rx Ironically, the better circulated your ideas are, the less vulnerable to theft they’ll be, says human-resources specialist Anne Pasley-Stuart, president of Pasley-Stuart Consulting in Boise, Idaho. Share your inspirations at meetings, business lunches or in department-wide e-mails.

NEMESIS The Sniper shoots down your every proposal.

Career Rx Hone your delivery, Pasley-Stuart recommends. Timidity, shoddy homework or poor timing will sink a proposal faster than any ill-willed colleague can.

NEMESIS The Slacker is always on break or surfing the Net.

Career Rx Instead of grumbling, ask for help. Be specific: “Could you complete this research by 4 p.m.?” Some people just need direction, observes Ken Lloyd, Ph.D., the Encino, Calif.-based author of Jerks at Work (Career Press, 1999). “Clarifying what you need can be enough to get the person moving.”

NEMESIS The Micromanager hovers over your shoulder.

Career Rx Exploit a tight deadline, suggests Rhoda Frindell-Green, Ph.D., a psychological consultant specializing in career and business planning in New York City. Persuade your manager you’ll work faster uninterrupted. If she refuses to cut the cord, cut your losses: “This person will stifle your creativity and keep you from accomplishing your goals.”

NEMESIS The Telepath expects you to be a mind reader and blasts you for “forgetting” what she never told you.

Career Rx Recap important conversations in e-mails, Pasley-Stuart suggests. You’ll cover yourself and give your colleague the chance to clarify any misunderstandings.

COPYRIGHT 2003 Weider Publications

COPYRIGHT 2003 Gale Group

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