I have a colleague who always makes it a point to counter what I am saying. Whenever I share an idea in a meeting, he butts in and says things to put me down. He does this with some other colleagues also. I am fed up with his overbearing attitude. How do I handle this situation?
2 thoughts on “What is the best way to handle someone who always puts you down?”
Sounds like a (unfortunately) common bullying behavior. Depending on whether the person is a peer or your boss, you could try a few different things.
If the person is a peer, and he constantly does this in public, like in group meetings, you could try the following.
1. Discuss it with other victims of the same bad behavior. For example, your colleague “Vijay” constantly interrupts and makes sarcastic remarks during team meetings, and he has just done it to another team mate. Check in with that person – “I noticed that Vijay didn’t let you finish talking about your project, your expression seemed a bit upset. Are you OK?”
2. Call attention to the bad behavior and impact immediately, use their name a lot, and make it about the impact on other people too. Let’s say he made a sarcastic remark during the team meeting while you were speaking, you could say something like: “Vijay, when you interrupted me just now to contradict my idea, without letting me finish, it made me feel frustrated that you didn’t take time to understand what I was saying. I appreciate your constructive input, but it would be much more helpful if you could wait to get the full picture before you jump in. Please let me finish talking.”
“Earlier, I noticed you interrupted X (your other colleague), and when you do that, it makes it hard to maintain a respectful team environment where everyone can contribute.”
“We treat you with respect, Vijay, and we’d like you to do the same.”
2. Talk to your boss if the behavior persists – make it factual, using the same formula : Name the bad behavior – point out the negative impact – explain the expected correct behavior.
3. Stay calm, direct and polite when confronting/reporting. If you are nervous, practice saying the words beforehand – you will feel calmer, prepared and better able to respond. If possible, discuss nd practice with a trusted colleague /mentor.
If you are dealing with a boss or senior who is behaving this way, you are better off bringing it up one to one in firm and respectful way rather than in public. Same formula – bad behavior – impact- expected correct behavior. You should document specific instances in case you have to report it to HR/a skip level boss.
Wow Divya.. love your suggestions. Will try and implement not only at work but life !!!