What To Do When A Co-Worker Unreasonably Snaps At You

How to deal when a colleague snaps at you in front of the boss


It can be very disarming when a colleague, often who is calm and shares a good rapport with you, suddenly snaps at you unreasonably in front of the boss. You are simply giving a presentation, or presenting a report, and are interrupted for no apparent reason by this colleague. You cannot fathom what caused the reaction.

This often happens when people work in tense and stressed situation on tough deadlines. Unknowingly people step on each other’s toes and egos are hurt for no rhyme or reason.

It is better not to run away like Luke when Michael Scott spanks him in the telecom series The Office.

So, what should you do to point out the wrong, and salvage your image?

Understanding the why

The first step is to understand what is the reason behind the outrage. Nathanael Fast, an assistant professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business suggests that people act out when their ego is threatened. If you think that this is the case, it can be deterred by expressing simple gratitude for any help received. A thank you can diffuse any anger before it boils over.

Taking a stand for yourself

If the colleague is wrong, it is better to take a stand for yourself. There is no point in waiting under the suppression like Anne Hathaway in Devil Wears Prada. If you are snapped at unreasonably, confront it then and there. Call out the wrong.

Don’t take the blame

Staying quiet may seem easy, but it amounts to you taking the blame for your co-worker’s cathartic rant. If you know yourself to be correct, then note the case for an apology either in front of your boss, or informally later with the colleague. Because staying quiet can set a bad precedent.

These work hacks will help you confront the situation when a colleague snaps at you.