8 Ways to Deal with an Entitled Coworkers, Bosses, and Employees
It can happen in even the most positive of work environments: A coworker, boss, or employee begins to exhibit feelings of entitlement that make their interactions with those around them unpleasant (at best) and completely unproductive (at worst). While it’s a well-known fact that you can’t change other people’s actions, you can certainly change yours. Read on for some tips on dealing with the entitled people in your work environment.
1. Ignore them
Remember how your parents used to tell you to just ignore the bullies on the playground? Well, this is basically the same general advice. Entitled coworkers want constant attention, and not giving it to them can often snuff out their narcissistic enthusiasm. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but it’s certainly worth it. There’s no way to get drawn into workplace drama if you pretend it’s not happening.
2. Assert yourself
If ignoring them is something you simply can’t (or don’t want to) do, take the more assertive approach by standing up for yourself in a firm but respectful manner. If they try to boss you around (when that isn’t their job), calmly tell them you won’t participate and leave it at that. “Calmly” is the key here—all your hard work will be instantly undone if you raise your voice and give the impression that you’re the one losing your cool.
3. Stay focused
It can be easy to be pulled into the warped orbit of an entitled coworker. That, however, only leads to anger and frustration. When you begin feeling like your sense of equilibrium is being challenged, take a deep breath, and remember the reason you’re at work in the first place. What valuable contributions are you making? Focus on the work that needs to get done (that only you can do!) and use that focus as your guiding light.
1. Set boundaries
Things can get a bit trickier when it comes to dealing with entitled bosses, but the ideas are generally the same. It’s important to set clear boundaries from the get-go—and don’t deviate from them. Whether that means letting your boss know you won’t be checking emails past six o’clock or you won’t be available for work calls on the weekend, decide on your boundaries and stick to them.
2. Don’t argue
Arguing with someone (especially your boss) will accomplish exactly nothing except getting you in the doghouse. Unfair? Absolutely. True? Unfortunately. Even if you spout nothing but the truth, an entitled boss won’t hear it. Shut down and go to your mental happy place if you need to, but don’t actively engage them when they’re being unreasonable.
3. Keep your power
Yes, your entitled boss is technically above you on the corporate food chain and, thus, wields more “power” than you do. But it doesn’t mean you have to look up to them or follow in their footsteps. Instead, keep your head low and do your job the best way you know how—with respect, honor, and integrity. That alone will speak volumes about your character.
1. Emphasize appreciation
In order to prevent resentment or growing feelings of entitlement among certain employees, be sure to focus more on appreciating and supporting those in the workplace as opposed to mentioning how “special” certain employees are. By refusing to foster any particular uniqueness, you can instead emphasize how much you value everyone’s work.
2. Switch up rewards
It’s important to reward employees—whether that’s for meeting certain milestones, finishing a particularly difficult project, or just spontaneously thanking them for all of their hard work. The key, however, is to keep those rewards constantly changing—otherwise, they might inadvertently become something your employees depend on.
Some office workers find that competition can quickly morph into feelings of jealousy and entitlement if it’s not handled appropriately. The above tips are designed to ease tension and help restore an equilibrium that makes your office a more positive place to be.