How to deal with bossy people on your job

Written by lee nichols
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How to deal with bossy people on your job
If the bossy person is your employer, it can make confrontations more difficult. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

If you poll people about why they quit their last job, you might be surprised to discover that many of them quit because of co-workers instead of the actual job. Working around bossy people -- even your true boss -- can be difficult and, occasionally, ruin an otherwise perfect job. While employees typically cannot do anything about bossy customers, they do have options when dealing with co-workers and even bosses who are difficult to work with.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Think about the person's statements. While you may not appreciate how she is voicing her opinion on how you should be performing your job, it might be valid. Possibly, this is not the first time she spoke with you about the same issue and the bossy tone is her way of making you hear her.

  2. 2

    Talk with the person about how his bossiness makes you feel. Some people just communicate in an adversarial way and may not realise that you feel demeaned in conversations. Explain that while you are doing your best to do your work to his specifications, you feel that the way he speaks to you does not convey any respect for your abilities.

  3. 3

    Ask the bossy person if she is having a bad day or if something is wrong. If the bossy behaviour is not normal, she may have some personal issues that are affecting her behaviour at work. Even if she does not want to talk about the issue, bringing up her behaviour may make her realise that she is being abrupt and bossy. This alone can stop the behaviour.

  4. 4

    Talk to your boss or the human resources department if your company has one. Your superiors may not be aware of any issues among employees and reporting the behaviour can cause someone with the authority to put a stop to it.

  5. 5

    Stay away from the person. Granted, this is not possible if the person is your actual boss, but if it is someone you work with on a regular basis, talk to management about transferring to another department. Even if you cannot change departments, you may be able to decrease your interaction with him.

  6. 6

    Ignore the person. If you have tried everything -- and the person does not have the authority to boss you around -- ignore her. You do not have to be rude to get your point across, just tell her that you are aware of what needs doing and have your own system for getting it done. Thank her for the help and then complete your work in the way that best works for you.

Tips and warnings

  • If you are not comfortable confronting the person, send him an e-mail.
  • Practice methods to decrease your stress level. Bossy people can be easier to work with if you are not suffering from stress.
  • If the bossy person is your actual boss and talking to her about the situation does not help, your only option may be to change jobs if the behaviour is more than you can take.

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