Customer Experience News & Trends

5 ways to deal with jerks at work

As a contact center pro, you probably deal with a few jerks. It doesn’t mean you have to put up with their bad behavior.

Jerks come in all shapes and sizes – from customers and co-workers to connivers and loudmouths. Fortunately, you don’t have to let them ruin your day.

Instead, try these proven tactics from management expert and author Robert Sutton to deal with jerks at work.

  1. Politely confront jerks. Some people don’t even realize they’re perpetually difficult. Some jerks who know they’re mean just need another person to stand up to them. Let them know that their words and/or actions belittle you or make you feel uncomfortable.
  2. Limit contact. If a polite confrontation doesn’t do the trick, avoid jerks as much as possible. Skip meetings that you can where the jerk will be. Schedule phone calls, rather than face-to-face chats. Keep all conversations short.
  3. Enjoy small wins. This isn’t about getting revenge. It’s about taking the upper hand sometimes. Tout your accomplishments to the boss in ways that show bullies in their true negative light. Ask for prime job assignments before they can get to them. With customer jerks, remind them of your great qualifications and the extraordinary things you’ve done for them.
  4. Practice indifference. Remind yourself after an encounter with a jerk (or when you know you might have one) that you’ll never change him. Go through the motions of dealing with him and never care about how it happens.
  5. Keep a diary. If a jerk persists, document every incident when she belittled, hollered or behaved badly. Turn it over to a supervisor so the employee is reprimanded or the customer is dealt with by management.

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