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A Realistic Guide to Handling a Co-worker Who Acts Like Your Boss

By | Sara McCord |

You’ve got a co-worker who, to put it diplomatically, has a hard time keeping their leadership tendencies in check. To tell it like it is: He treats you like he’s the boss. He provides tons of constructive feedback (even when you didn’t ask for it), divides up roles on team projects (giving himself the best one), and quashes any opportunity for others to have a say.

This can go from an annoyance to a prevalent problem when your boss doesn’t step in. Maybe she’s too busy to stay apprised of team dynamics, maybe the department is understaffed and she’s happy for someone to step up and take on a larger role, or maybe she’s hearing how things are going directly from him—and has no idea he’s steamrolling people left and right.

While it’s super-frustrating to deal with a bossy co-worker day in and day out, there are steps you can take to address the situation.

Start with these four tactics:

1. Speak Up in the Moment

Your colleague has just taken charge and relegated you to a boring task again, and you’re really upset about it. But, would she (apart from the ability to mind read) know that?

Not everyone who takes charge does it maliciously. If the team okays her ideas—or doesn’t say anything at all—how’s she to know that people are actually seething?

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