What To Do With a Two-faced Colleague
Do you have a coworker who acts wildly different depending on whether the boss is in the room? Some employees may be quick on their feet, dynamic, friendly, supportive, charming, and respectful when the boss is around, but rude, dismissive, or lazy in their absence. Not sure how to deal with it? Amy Jen Su, co-founder of executive coaching and leadership development company Paravis Partners, gives suggestions in her Harvard Business Review article, “How to Handle a Colleague Who’s a Jerk When the Boss Isn’t Around.”
Realize it’s not about you. Don’t take it personally. Your coworker’s behavior is likely due to a lack of awareness or emotional intelligence.
Take the high road. Don’t lower yourself to their level by behaving the same way. RespectfulDon’t #1, “Don’t Try to Stop Disrespect with More Disrespect,” reminds us that you’ll just create a bigger problem.
Be constructive. Before you confront your colleague, make sure that their conduct isn’t just irritating to you. If it is causing problems with the entire team and affecting the work, remember RespectfulDo #2, “Don’t Tolerate Disrespect.” However, don’t go directly to your boss – talk to your coworker first, in private. Try to understand where they’re coming from, and give them the benefit of the doubt.
Talk to your boss. If talking with your coworker doesn’t help, go to your boss. Be prepared, and stay calm.
Use it as a learning experience. Think about why you’re upset with your colleague’s behavior and use it to learn something about yourself. For example, are you annoyed that someone is quick on their feet because you wish you were more quick on your own? Look at positive characteristics that you can learn from them, without picking up negative ones.