8 ways to deal with arrogant people at work

How to deal with a bad colleague in the workplace

Arrogant people are one of the biggest threats to office harmony and productivity, especially if they’re in a management role. Not only do they believe they know everything, but they’ll do anything to make themselves look better, including criticising others to prove their own worth.

How to cope with an arrogant person in the workplace:

How do you spot an arrogant person?

There’s a big difference between believing in yourself and being arrogant. Ask yourself, does the person actually listen and care about what you have to say? Or are they constantly criticising and denigrating you, or others, to make themselves feel better? It will soon become obvious what type of person they are.

Treat encounters as a personal test:

How tolerant can you be? Are you good at listening? Set yourself the goal of honing these skills with each encounter until you’re a master of diplomacy. Keep an open mind and try to understand their motivations. You’ll learn something new and maybe even teach them a thing or two in the process.

Examine your own behaviour:

Do you try to blend into the wallpaper, rather than stand out in the crowd? While there’s no excuse for bad behaviour, arrogant people are more likely to concentrate their efforts on colleagues or employees they believe they can dominate.

Believe in yourself: 

Self-belief is your biggest defence against arrogance, and will place you in a position of strength. If you have faith in yourself and abilities, not even an arrogant person can take that away from you.

Arrogance often hides insecurity: 

Arrogant people secretly know their insecurities, but won’t ever acknowledge their own failures or mistakes – even when there is evidence. They tend to make lots of assumptions, without any real knowledge. Once you understand their motivations you may start to pity rather than fear them.

Avoid arrogant people where possible: 

But if you can’t, try not to get into confrontations with them which will only lessen your own credibility and make you look bad, which is exactly the situation they want to achieve.

Become like Teflon: 

Let their bad behaviour slide right off you before it has a chance to undermine your own confidence. Just smile and nod. Sure – it’s easier said than done, but if you can master the art you’ll defeat the purpose of the attack.

Just don’t ignore them: 

Pretending they don’t exist might actually intensify the problem by bringing all of their insecurities to the surface. Instead, refuse to bow to their sense of superiority by casually treating them the same as any other person. Act wise and in control and they’ll soon leave you alone.

Top tips for dealing with arrogant co-workers:

  • Arrogance often hides a person’s insecurity
  • Become like Teflon and let their arrogance slide off you
  • Ignoring them can escalate the situation.
  • Treat an arrogant person the same as everyone else


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