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Old 01-10-2012, 10:12 PM
 
1,646 posts, read 4,590,829 times
Reputation: 759
Default Condescending Co-Worker

I continue to have frustrations with a co-worker. He is in a lateral, or slightly lower, position than I am. We report to the same boss, but he also reports to me for some items. Yet I sense no respect from.

Today at a meeting I was leading, he had an expression that made it clear it was a total waste of his time. Many times when I speak to or email him, he answers either abruptly and rudely, or in a condescending tone.

He has an attitude about him that conveys that what he is working on is infinitely more important than anyone else is working on. For example, we recently reorganized and were supposed to move closer to other departments so we could communicate better. After one day however, he moved back to his old cubicle near the boss's office (actually he tried to snag a recently-vacated corner office but that got shot down). His reasoning was that what he was working on was so sensitive he couldn't risk having people walk by his desk and seeing what was on his screen.

It's not like I've been promoted above him even though he has better qualifications. He has about 8 years less work experience than I do. He has a bachelor's degree, I have a masters. I've been with company a few months longer than he has.

He does good work and is smart. It just really seems like he's lacking respect for certain people, when he believes he could do their jobs better. Apparently that includes me. This is really the first time I've dealt with this kind of situation. What have you all done?
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Old 01-11-2012, 04:51 AM
 
Location: Missouri
5,835 posts, read 14,514,394 times
Reputation: 4389
In my experience, many people who have attitudes like that feel that their work is not valued, and/or
have big-time control issues. Either way, my approach is the same. I try to find occasional, sincere ways of showing respect for what they do, and acknowledge their talent and hard work. I might ask for their feedback on something I'm working on. This may help the person relax, feel valued, and more a part of the team.

Some people also don't communicate well in certain ways. Emails are very easy to misinterpret. You might try calling him or speaking to him in person and seeing if that doesn't help. And if he is having an attitude during meetings, I would try to meet with him privately later on that day, and ask him how he thought the meeting went. You might even say that he came off like it was just a waste of time. See what he has to say about it. He might not be aware that he is coming off that way, and needs someone to point it out; this can be a non-threatening way to do it. Or maybe he is seeing the situation from a different perspective; maybe he is frustrated about the meeting and might have a good reason for it. For example, I know I hate going to meetings where their is no clear agenda. If he is frustrated with the meetings, we can't know why unless someone asks the fellow why.

Best of luck...this is a frustrating situation but if you are willing to put in the time and energy to improve the relationship with this person, it will make for a much more pleasant work environment for you in the long run. Other people might suggest talking to your boss about it but in my experience, that generally isn't effective; the person may just end up resentful depending on how your boss handles it.
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:02 AM
 
Location: St Thomas, US Virgin Islands
21,636 posts, read 25,212,126 times
Reputation: 22321
I had experience with someone who exactly fits that description. I did exactly the opposite of what christina proposes. I simply called him out in front of the office every time he was rude or condescending - but with a big smile and a cheery tone of voice, as in, "Oh no, what did I do/say to deserve THAT look/tone of voice?" It worked like a charm and before long he was acting "normally".
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Old 01-11-2012, 05:15 AM
 
18,868 posts, read 14,942,728 times
Reputation: 24843
It is annoying to work with others. But, you are not his supervisor. If you feel his attitude merits supervision, you should go to the supervisor and discuss the situation. That person is the correct person to address the co-workers attitude.

I would just focus on your job performance, and start documenting specific instances where his attitude, has negatively impacted work performance and issues. Then, take this information to supervision.

You don't like the guy, he probably does not like you. But, who cares if he feels like his work is "top secret"? And he does not show you respect? Well, get over that.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:25 PM
 
7,824 posts, read 8,187,677 times
Reputation: 10592
Quote:
Originally Posted by christina0001 View Post
In my experience, many people who have attitudes like that feel that their work is not valued, and/or
have big-time control issues. Either way, my approach is the same. I try to find occasional, sincere ways of showing respect for what they do, and acknowledge their talent and hard work. I might ask for their feedback on something I'm working on. This may help the person relax, feel valued, and more a part of the team.

Some people also don't communicate well in certain ways. Emails are very easy to misinterpret. You might try calling him or speaking to him in person and seeing if that doesn't help. And if he is having an attitude during meetings, I would try to meet with him privately later on that day, and ask him how he thought the meeting went. You might even say that he came off like it was just a waste of time. See what he has to say about it. He might not be aware that he is coming off that way, and needs someone to point it out; this can be a non-threatening way to do it. Or maybe he is seeing the situation from a different perspective; maybe he is frustrated about the meeting and might have a good reason for it. For example, I know I hate going to meetings where their is no clear agenda. If he is frustrated with the meetings, we can't know why unless someone asks the fellow why.

Best of luck...this is a frustrating situation but if you are willing to put in the time and energy to improve the relationship with this person, it will make for a much more pleasant work environment for you in the long run. Other people might suggest talking to your boss about it but in my experience, that generally isn't effective; the person may just end up resentful depending on how your boss handles it.
I couldn't disagree more. This isn't about someone who thinks their work isn't valued, this is the office a**hole.

If you read the OP's post this person took it upon themself to move back to their old cubicle and tried to grab an office.

This person thinks they're above others and has NO INTEREST in being part of the team. He thinks having to sit in on certain meetings is wasting is time, he doesn't want to sit by the others, and sounds like the classic backstabber.

What is he working on that is so "top secret" that others can't see.

The OP needs to start documenting these interactions and then talk to the supervisor. If there are other workers who feel this way and have had problems with him then get them to discuss thisi with the supervisor as well.

Because this type of person will go out their way to make others look bad and might even sabatoge something the OP or other employees are working on to make himself look better.
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Old 01-11-2012, 06:39 PM
 
18,868 posts, read 14,942,728 times
Reputation: 24843
Yes, I worked with someone like this. But "he acted disrespectful to me" is not going to work. The OP needs to document specific instances where productivity or work was negatively impacted. Otherwise, to a supervisor it sounds like, whining, and that you can't get along with others. There is a book out, "How to work with a$$holes", I suggest you get a copy.
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Old 01-12-2012, 07:09 AM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,441,516 times
Reputation: 7395
Jesus Christ, so you think one of the people you work with is an jerk, big deal, there are millions of jerks out there. Just put your nose to the grindstone and do your own job and quit worrying about how he does his job. Grow a thicker skin.

Last edited by Irishtom29; 01-12-2012 at 07:18 AM..
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:19 AM
 
1,646 posts, read 4,590,829 times
Reputation: 759
Yes I guess there are millions of jerks out therIe.
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:35 AM
 
Location: St. Augustine
9,258 posts, read 11,441,516 times
Reputation: 7395
Quote:
Originally Posted by coolcats View Post
Yes I guess there are millions of jerks out therIe.

I gotcha. Very good.

But the advice still stands. I had tons of experience with jerks including as being one and realizing how I was best dealt with. People who get the job done and make the company money should be tolerated even if they're jerks; I tolerated productive jerks who worked for me and would even cater to them, whatever got the job done best and made the contractor money satisfied my ego. When you're mature you realize that you should never kiss ass up but kissing ass down or laterally is often productive. Big men can kiss ass down or over. But never up, never. Indeed, willingness to kiss ass down is a show of REAL power.

Last edited by Irishtom29; 01-12-2012 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 01-12-2012, 09:48 AM
 
Location: NJ
17,580 posts, read 19,955,756 times
Reputation: 15381
Quote:
Originally Posted by Irishtom29 View Post
Jesus Christ, so you think one of the people you work with is an jerk, big deal, there are millions of jerks out there. Just put your nose to the grindstone and do your own job and quit worrying about how he does his job. Grow a thicker skin.
Pretty much this.
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