In the workplace, we meet all kinds of people: the good, the bad, and the ugly; and the ugly can range from too-faced, to straight-up ugly. Yet, the most annoying kind of ugly is that one coworker who constantly steps on your toes. Ideally, everyone wishes for a conflict-free work environment and nice colleagues to thrive, but hello, it’s the real corporate world we’re talking about not utopia. Since we know that almost everyone has a bad story about an overstepping co-worker who is giving them a hard time, we’re here to help you put them back in their place.
Monitor The Pattern
Before forming an opinion or building a judgment on whether your coworker is stepping on your toes. The first time, give them the benefit of the doubt, the second time, well maybe it is unintentional, but if they do it for a third time, you no longer need to doubt and it is time to set boundaries.
Tackle It Subtly but Smartly
Now that you’ve noticed the behavior it is time to take action but not aggravate the situation. Yet. Whenever you’ve been stepped over, subtly hint that they should mind their own business. You can reply by saying ‘Thank you so much for your help, but I’d rather get it done on my own’ or ‘Thank you but don’t worry about it, I have been managing this kind of project for some years now.' In saying so, you are respectfully yet assertively telling them to watch out for how far they are trespassing.
Remind Them of Their Role and Yours
Set ground roles to where your job role is and theirs as well. Remind them when needed that the area they are trying to step into doesn’t fall under their responsibilities. You can express that by explaining that you would like to leave them space and freedom in their role and expect them to do the same.
In conclusion, no one like to feel like they are being bossed around by someone who is not really their boss, or that they are being stepped over when they are supposed to be taking charge. In such situations, sometimes we shy away from standing up for ourselves because we want to avoid office drama. But the truth is if you don’t draw the line and if you become lenient, they will step over more and more.