How to Handle 15 Types of Jerks at the Office

We all have them – people in the office who you simply can’t stand to work with. They’re the people you literally run away from at the water cooler. You’d rather spend all day in a boring meeting than talk to them for 10 minutes. But the thing is, eventually you’ll have to deal with them and it’s easier to do this if you know what “type of jerk” they are and how best to address their issues.

By understanding their characteristics you’ll be able to identify what type of jerk they are and the best way to deal with them. Here’s a list of 15 jerks at the office I think you’re most likely to encounter.

1. The “I’m Always Right” Jerk

Characteristics: Arrogant, Aggressive, Egotistic, “My way or the high way” Attitude

When you deal with this type of person, you want to be very clear about your facts and even write them down if you have to. They may not agree with you and you’ll need to keep your distance. You just have to hope they learn from their failures.

2. The Sexist Jerk

Characteristics: Aggressive, Discriminatory, Harasses People

When the need arises you must politely but firmly let them know that their behavior is offensive. Don’t be afraid to go to your boss or HR if it gets to be too much. There should be zero tolerance in the company with this type of behavior

3. The Complaining Jerk

Characteristics: Pessimistic, Finds Faults, Points Fingers

You need to stay emotionally detached from these kind of people so that their negativity doesn’t affect you. Always have a positive come back to their negative attitudes. Don’t let them point fingers at members in your team, instead, figure out the cause of the problem to prove them wrong.

4. The Tattle Tale Jerk

Characteristics: Untrustworthy, Flaky, Sneaky, Overly Friendly

Don’t give this type of jerk any ammunition to use against you. Always have only professional conversations with them. You could try to win them over by complimenting their successes.

5. The Two Faced Jerk

Characteristics: Fake, Hypocritical, Discredits Others, Jealous

Try to keep written records of the things that you do together, even by keeping simple minutes of the meeting with this person. Verify what they say about other people and always double check your facts.

6. The Political jerk

Characteristics: Manipulative, Conniving, Understands Power Plays

You definitely want to listen more than talk with this type of jerk. Avoid saying things that can be taken out of context and understand how this person could use information in influential situations. Know who this person connects with in the organization and build your own relationships with them.

7. The Kiss A** Jerk

Characteristics: Gives Unending Praise, Driven by an Agenda, Doubtful of their Own Competence

Never ever give into the fake compliments, always remember that there’s a hidden motive behind them. Understand what makes this jerk insecure and try to provide support if possible. Help to steer this jerk away from the hidden motives and focus on the team’s agenda instead.

8. The Self-Centered Jerk

Characteristics: Defensive, Egotistic, No Empathy, Selfish

Set clear boundaries for this type of jerk so that you never become their doormat. Remember that sometimes you need to be selfish too so don’t get caught up in their all-knowing attitude.

9. The Look Busy Do Nothing Jerk

Characteristics: Lazy, Doesn’t Deliver Results, Wastes Time and Resources

Don’t let their laziness effect you. Instead, tell them what they’re doing and how it’s negatively effecting team performance. Factor their low delivery rate into project timelines so you have realistic expectations.

10. The Fanatic Jerk

Characteristics: Judgmental, Overly Shares, Forces Ideas On to Others

These are the best jerks to kill with kindness but you have to let them know that they’re not acting in a way that’s good for the team. Show them through example that that both agreeing and disagreeing is good for the team.

11. The Perfectionist Jerk

Characteristics: Late in Delivering, Nitpicks, Never Satisfied with Deliverables

You cannot take their criticisms personally, it’s just the way they are – they really can’t help themselves. Place these jerks in a position where there perfectionist attitude will benefit the team. Something that requires excessive attention to detail. They’ll be so absorbed, they won’t bother anyone else.

12. The Credit Stealing Jerk

Characteristics: Brags, Lies, Takes Advantage of Others

You have to stand up for yourself and take credit where it’s due. Don’t let them steal your light because they’ll do it without thinking twice. Never feel bad for taking pride in your work – publicly. Don’t hesitate to jokingly make fun of this person when they try to steal the credit due to someone else.

13. The Feels Sorry for Himself Jerk

Characteristics: Self-Depreciating, Insecure, Lacks Confidence

Put a huge bubble of positive energy around this person but don’t let yourself get drained. Keep yourself emotionally detached and keep looking at your glass as half full. Engage this person in work and if you can figure out the root cause of their problem then address it.

14. The Overachieving Jerk

Characteristics: Does More Than Their Share, Makes Others Look Bad, Always Looks Busy

Keep throwing challenges at these people to keep busy so that they don’t take from others. Make sure the whole team realizes that they don’t have to keep pace with this jerk and remember that everyone’s personal priorities are different.

15. The Victim Jerk

Characteristics: Blames Others, Low Attitude, Constantly Complains

Again, keep your emotional distance – you simply don’t want to get caught up in their negative energy. When they’re willing to listen talk to them positively. Be clear that no one gets a free ride and there are expectations (and consequences) for everyone.

I bet you meet some of these jerks outside the office as well – in family, friends or your social circle. I guarantee they call can be dealt with and that rather than avoid them there’s probably more to be gained by knowing how to interact with them. The overarching tip that addresses all of their issues is this:

Have confidence in your abilities. Never let anyone cut you down.

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