What do you do when someone goes off on you at work?

Let’s face it. Sometimes people at work flip out and act crazy, but what do you do when someone goes off on you at work?

It happens. I’m sure it has happened to a lot of people.  

This can come from a peer, a staff member, team member, or a boss. What do you do? Are you prepared if this happens to you? Below are 4 things you can equip yourself with in the event this happens to you.

  1. Try not to Respond Quickly

This is challenging for people. I know. Sometimes you are caught off guard and you do what comes to mind instinctively. Especially, if this person is saying or doing things that are pushing your buttons. However, if you can stop, take a deep breath and think, you might be able to defuse the situation. Think about responses that will preserve the relationship. Maybe that person needs some time. Or maybe you should take some time to cool off. Do what you need to do so that you don’t get pulled into the madness.

  1. Employ some Compassion

Once the craziness is over. Try to show empathy and compassion for that person. I know this is very challenging depending on what the other person has done. Maybe that person was totally stressed out, or maybe they are having problems at home. There is no excuses for people treating you badly. The reality is it happens. If you offer up compassion in the situation, it might just help you overcome the offense and help you to move forward.

  1. Have a Game Plan

Think about what you will do to move past the offense. You know, sometimes you need to be put on a different assignment or team. I certainly don’t recommend that you continue to take abuse at work. Nobody has time for that! Maybe your plan includes going to HR and filing out a complaint. Whatever you decide, think about it calmly and soberly. Think about the consequences to your actions. I’d also talk to someone that you respect and get their advice.

  1. Be Resilient

Work can be crazy. Life can be crazy. As a result, this type of behavior is inevitable- it’s not right, but it happens. We can’t control that. BUT what you can control is your response and your ability to be resilient. You have to find a way to move forward. I’m not suggesting that you put yourself in harm’s way. What I’m talking about is forgiveness and the ability to not get stuck in situations because you won’t let it go.

It is a process to build your ability to be resilient. The great thing is that everyone has TONS of practice at work and at home. HAHAHAHA!


How did you response to someone going off on you?

Are you REALLY adding Value?

How do you really know if you are adding value to your organization? We can look at our peers and measure ourselves against their performance. Or we can think about our contributions that we’ve made. But how do you know if your contributions are really adding value?

I’ve struggled with this particularly early in my career. I thought that doing what I was asked to do was enough. Actually, I thought it was more than enough. It wasn’t until I had a reality check that doing only what is asked is not really adding value. Sure, the work getting done is valuable, but can you consider that as adding value?

Let’s have a reality check and see how well you can answer the following questions.

 Are you doing so well that you can’t be ignored?

Have you received any awards for your performance lately? Maybe your organization doesn’t have the funds. What about praise for a job well done? What kind of feedback are you receiving?

Are you focused on solving problems?

Complaining really does get to be very irritating. Instead of always complaining about things, go come up with some viable solutions. If this doesn’t work, keep trying. Make sure you humble yourself and be pleasant.

Are you volunteering for assignments?

A great way to add value is to volunteer for additional work. But you need to be pleasant to work with too. Keep that in mind.

Some benefits to volunteering for new work include having an opportunity to learn more skills, meet and connect with others in or outside your organization, and do something different. Variety is the spice of life, right? There are many other benefits to volunteering for projects or work assignments, but I think you get the idea.

Are you learning different functions?

I think the greatest way for a person to add value is to be able to step in when others are out or they leave the job. To have the ability to do this, you might need to volunteer for other assignments. But simply asking “what can I do to help get the work done?” is a huge value add!

Are you humble enough to do whatever it takes?
I have so much respect for leaders that will jump in and do the work. All the people I’ve worked for that have gotten their hands “dirty” too, always earn my respect. The opposite for me is true as well. When I see people that are too educated to make copies.  It makes me think twice about having them on my team. I don’t want to work with someone like that. The best teams are those that come with a great attitude and willing to do whatever it takes.

How did you do on the questions? Are you really adding value?

Dealing with Gossip at Work

What do you do if people at work are gossiping about you? Coming to work and doing a good job is challenging enough. We shouldn’t have to deal with gossip, but it most certainly happens.

This article has some suggestions on dealing with gossip at work.
People might be gossiping about you for several reasons. Maybe it’s a political power move, it could be a form of bullying, or it could be harmless chit chat.

Tips for Dealing with Gossip at work

  • Political Power Move

If it happens to be a political power move, the person spreading rumors or gossiping could be trying to make you look bad to gain favor from a boss or other colleagues. Maybe your strategy might be to ignore it. Maybe it might blow over. Make sure you do your job well and document everything, just in case things get ugly.

Talk to Human Resources if you feel it’s making it too challenging to work in the environment.

  • Bullying

Think carefully before approaching the bully. Confronting this person may not work especially if the bully is of high rank or a senior leader. This person could maliciously start sabotaging you. You have to be strategic and think things through.

Another reason why confronting the bully might not be a good idea is because doing so might add fuel to the fire. These situations are challenging. Especially if you don’t have hard evidence that this person is spreading rumors.

Talk to your supervisor if you have a great relationship with him/her. If you don’t, your boss might side with the bully. If your boss doesn’t like you, it might not be helpful at all to talk to them.

  • Gossip

Sometimes people just gossip! It may be that they like drama or they are bored and don’t have anything better to do. If this is the case, then you might want to ignore it. But if you think it’s affecting your reputation, or your ability to do your job, talk to Human Resources. Try to avoid the issue escalating out of control.

Ask to be reassigned to another area or team. However, if you are new, some of these things happen to new people. If this is the case, focus on doing what you were hired to do. Be a great employee. Learn your job and try to get along with your supervisor and coworkers.

Using Reverse Psychology

Another tip that might work is to act like the rumors don’t bother you. If it’s true and it’s a non-damaging rumor, admit it and talk about it as if it’s no big deal. For example, if people are saying that you really don’t know what you are doing, then admit it. Say something like, “You know, I don’t really know what I’m doing, I’m learning and I’ll get it.” “I made a mistake, I won’t do that again.”

However, don’t admit to things that are not true. With these more harmful lies, it can be difficult to deny them without looking defensive. Instead, simply focus on doing your job as best as you can. For example, if someone is spreading a rumor that you are on drugs, it’s unlikely anyone would believe them if you’re performing so well. Certainly, don’t come to work acting crazy and looking a mess.

Act strong and confident, even if you have to fake it.

Acting strong and confident can help your advance your career and to avoid being bullied. Bullies are insecure and they generally pick on people that look weak. You might have been handpicked because you’re a nice sweet person. BTW, you can be strong and confident as well as nice and sweet. If you act strong and confident, then you might be able to ward off some of this behavior. In this instance, you may need to stand up for yourself and confront the person spreading rumors. This might send a signal that you are not going to put up with the nonsense. For example, if they criticize you publicly, don’t shy away and shrink down. Instead maybe a good suggestion is to turn to them and quietly tell them a better approach would be to talk to you privately.

If they continue, repeat that you would like to talk in private. This way, you have immediately responded to the conflict and it will make you appear like someone that will not to stand for that treatment.
From my experience, if you go quiet and allow yourself to be embarrassed in public, you’ll likely become the victim of further targets.

Have you had experiences with gossip or rumors?








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