Types of Jerks At Workplace And How To Deal With Them

by Kylee Stone Nov 14,2022

The People Strategy Leaders Podcast

with Srikant Chellappa, CEO

Why is a positive environment at the workplace so important? Because it gives you the motivation to do your best at work. But not every workplace has employees who contribute to a positive workplace. Unfortunately, no matter where you go, there is a jerk in every team who spoils morale.

These ‘Jerks’ may be of different types. And not all of them are easy to identify. Lucky for you, we have come up with a list of the different types of jerks at workplace and how you should deal with them!

1. The ‘Know-It-All’ Jerk

How To Spot: They are one of the most common kinds of jerks you’ll find in an office. In some instances, they have been part of the industry for a long period of time and assume that they have experienced everything that the industry has to offer and that their opinions are always correct and should be valued.

One of the hallmarks of the know-it-all jerk is that since they assume they know better, they try to show you how to do your job and give you all sorts of advice, some of which you don’t even need.

How To Deal: There isn’t any particular strategy when it comes to dealing with them. It is not always necessary to shut someone down. You can simply listen to their so-called valuable advice and do what you feel is right in the end.

If the person forces you to follow his advice, you can politely ask them to back off. If they continue being annoying, talk to your manager. And if the jerk is your manager, you can always approach your Human Resource manager!

Also Read: Here’s A Checklist For Choosing The Right 360 Feedback Software

2. The Idea-Stealing Jerk

How To Spot: This one’s the easiest to spot. It might be a colleague, a teammate, or even your manager sometimes. When dealing with idea-stealing jerks, discussing your ideas with teammates or colleagues before a meeting with your boss or manager is not always wise. They might simply present it before you do it as their own.

How To Deal: The best way is to confront them. These jerks are quite clever, they might explain away their idea-stealing by saying that since you both belong to the same team and it will not matter who presents the idea. But don’t fall for that and let them know that this behavior will not be entertained the next time.

Remember to always stand up and ask for your credit when you find yourself in these kinds of situations.

3. The Bullying/Gossiping Jerk

How To Spot: These kinds of jerks can be abundantly found in every workplace. Their main characteristics are being aggressive, discriminating against people based on silly reasons, bullying them, and claiming that they were only engaging in some well-intended humor.

How To Deal: 

Bullying your fellow employees should not be tolerated at any cost. This is very unprofessional behavior and though we know it is bad, it still happens at quite a few workplaces. If you witness an employee being bullied unfairly, stick up for them. They probably could use a friend. If you yourself experience bullying,  talk to your HR!

Do you know what else counts as bullying? Gossiping about someone behind their back and making all sorts of unfair remarks. Honestly speaking, gossiping is human nature and this behavior cannot be completely erased from a workplace. But, if you find yourself in a situation where you know that unkind rumors are being spread, say something about it or simply do not participate in the discussion.

4. The Sexist Jerk

How To Spot: These jerks are similar to bullying and gossiping jerks. They are also aggressive and discriminate against their fellow employees based on gender. They use humor to mask their inappropriate sexist remarks.

How To Deal: Even if there are so many sexist jerks in the office, it is hard to spot one because they hide their sexism with phrases like “That was just a joke!” or “You’re being too sensitive” etc. But this cannot be tolerated by any organization. When confronted with sexist jokes, let your displeasure be known. Not all sexist jerks are going to turn over new leaves when their behavior is pointed out to them, but they should know that you found their joke offensive and it shall not be tolerated if done again.

Also Read: Top 5 Common OKR Challenges

5. The ‘I Work On Holidays Too’ Jerk

How To Spot: Ugh. Spotting these jerks is quite easy. When the entire staff decides on some activity or a team outing or anything that doesn’t include the daily office work, these jerks pop up and ruin everybody’s plans and make everyone else look bad for having interests outside of work.

How To Deal: Now that you’ve spotted them, leave them alone. Let them “Focus on their work” while you and your fellow employees go out and do whatever it is you intended to do in the first place!

6. The Two-Faced Jerk

How To Spot: Spotting them is a little tricky. They might appear friendly on the side, but when push comes to shove, they are quite ready to shove you under the bus. Obviously, nobody comes to work to make lifelong friends. However, teamwork and team support are important parts of the workplace. Some people tend to be manipulative and will trick you into believing that they will always support you but they don’t.

How To Deal: If you have found the two-faced jerk in your office, then make sure that you recheck and verify from others what they tell you. And be careful about sharing any important details with them. Do not ever expect them to do something for you from the goodness of their hearts. And going forward, if you think someone is stringing you along, be it when it comes to working, a project, a meeting, etc, then quite simply, do not invest in building a lasting relationship with them. And don’t count on them when it comes to having your back!

7. The Negative Nancy

How To Spot: This one’s literally the easiest to spot. They just cannot find anything positive about anybody or anything in the office. You keep hearing criticisms from them for absolutely no reason. They destroy employee morale and demotivate everybody else on the team.

How To Deal: Every time they tell you something overtly negative, tell them something which is overtly positive. If this doesn’t work, then tell them politely but firmly that their negative attitude towards everything is affecting the morale of the whole team or making things difficult for you. Be blunt and specific, if need be. This should be enough for them to realize not to spread negativity in a positive work culture.

jerks at workplace

Kylee Stone

Kylee Stone supports the professional services team as a CX intern and psychology SME. She leverages her innate creativity with extensive background in psychology to support client experience and organizational functions. Kylee is completing her master’s degree in Industrial-Organizational psychology at the University of Missouri Science and Technology emphasizing in Applied workplace psychology and Statistical Methods.

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