Working in a disrespectful environment can be very hard on people, it makes going to work in an otherwise great job unbearable for some. It can cause stress, which can cause people to miss more work. Therefore, learning to cope with coworkers who don’t respect others is a necessity for career survival.
Let It Go
While standing up for yourself can sometimes seem the right thing to do, it really depends. Consider whether it’s worth it to address it and acknowledge it or better to just ignore the person, take a few deep breaths, and let it go. It can help to know where to draw the line in terms of the type of disrespect you can let go.
Determine Its Importance
You do have to draw the line someplace. If the disrespect you’re receiving is related to race, sex, religion or other protected status, you have rights in the workplace. But, if it’s just a lack of tact on the part of the disrespectful person and it’s their personality, there may not be much you can do about it. Sometimes cultural differences can come across as disrespect, so always consider the importance of the behavior before going further.
Talk to Someone
Sometimes sharing your concerns with a partner or a good friend can help you blow off steam after a day dealing with the disrespectful coworker. The best way to do this is to set a time limit, so that it doesn’t become an obsession and cause problems for you at home as well as at work. It can be very disturbing to have to deal with this type of problem, but most of the time it’s not really that big of an issue.
Be Kind and Empathize
For the average disrespectful person, a way to disarm them is to “kill them with kindness.” Instead of responding to their behavior, just ignore it and try to be kind and empathize with them. Often people don’t even know they’re being disrespectful, depending on where they’re from or how they were raised.
It’s honestly a total waste of your energy in most cases to let people get under your skin. If they’re not doing anything illegal or morally corrupt, their rudeness and disrespect don’t really affect you. If you let go of the blame and try to keep your composure, you may be able to stop the person getting a rise out of you.
There are times when you’re going to have to stand up to the disrespectful person. But there are ways to do it that work better than others. Maintain your composure and speak directly to them using “I” statements. “I feel disrespected when you say things like that, please don’t do it again.” If this doesn’t work you may have to “take it upstairs.”
Be the Example
When you snap back at someone who is rude to you, it just creates a circle of rudeness that sadly is contagious. One reason disrespectful people may show disrespect is because that is how they’ve been treated, and they don’t know anything else. Set the example for professional, kind behavior and you’re going to be more likely to get that back.
Take It to Management
If the coworker in question is acting disrespectfully for one of the covered issues such as sexism, racism, homophobia, or physical impairment, then you have you may have a legal complaint. Try talking to your HR department or management to let them deal with it. Take good timely notes about the issues and how you dealt with it before reporting it.
One thing to remember is that you have no idea what someone’s home life is like. Many people aren’t getting enough sleep, adequate nutrition, and are often overworked. These things can add up to rudeness for some people. But, you don’t have to put up with people who drag down the work day into chaos and drama if you know what to do.