How to Deal with a Know-It-All at Work
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The know-it-all. Almost every office has (at least) one. You know, someone who thinks they are an expert in all things, from the annual company report to canine dental hygiene, it’s apparently within their wheelhouse. And as such, you have to know how to deal with a know-it-all.
You need to keep your aggravation in check. As soon as you see the know-it-all co-worker’s mouth open, resist the urge to roll your eyes into the back of your head. Instead, try to find some common ground. Focusing on what you both agree on, it’ll make it easier for you to hear the other person out.
This also helps to clear away any negative emotions and lets you listen without an agenda, putting you in a position to learn why the know-it-all chooses to constantly self-promote.
By understanding what triggers the know-it-all response, you’ll know how to avoid tripping that wire.
Contrary to what the know-it-all might think, she doesn’t, in fact, know everything. But if she’s working alongside you, she (hopefully) has strong skill sets, which earned her a seat at the table.
Suggest that she be in charge of one branch of a project (budget, contracts, etc.), so that she can flex her muscles without infringing on others’ responsibilities. This gives them a sense of ownership and authority in this particular area, which can make them more amenable to other people’s leadership in other areas.
Address the elephant in the conference room. When you know you’re going to have to work with an office know-it-all on a project (and are totally dreading it), have an honest conversation about working together.
Being very direct can be a big help.
Don’t argue or look to butt heads, as that will only frustrate both of you. Offer your ideas in team meetings, but don’t make it your goal to rebut their ideas. Simply state another possibility or alternate perspective of the issue, without making it competitive.
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