3 Tips: How to Handle a Know-It-All Boss

Know it all bossDo you work for someone who thinks they have all the answers, but has little patience for the ideas of others? Do they have an opinion about everything and will share it regardless of its value to the project? Having to deal with a know-it-all in the workplace is an all-too common problem. Dealing with this type of personality can be difficult – especially when the know-it-all is your boss. Here are three tips to keep in mind that will help make your interactions with a know-it-all boss easier to manage.

Choose your Battles

The temptation to argue with a know-it-all simply based on principle can be strong, but it is often not worth the effort. You will waste valuable time and energy when the chances of actually persuading them is slim. Also, if that person is someone with more authority, you risk coming across as confrontational or insubordinate. If a know-it-all boss gives you an unsolicited suggestion, deflect it by responding with a disarming or passive response such as, “Thanks for the suggestion,” or “I’ll consider that for next time.”

Practice what you Preach

Model the ways you want to be treated by others. When working with a team, take opportunities to collaborate together and encourage others to share ideas. Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for help or admit that you are struggling with something. This will build trust with your team – and your boss – and show that you support working in an environment of mutual collaboration.

Show Empathy

Being the boss is stressful. Be empathetic of his/her situation. Perhaps there is someone higher up applying pressure to your boss. Maybe he or she has confidence issues or is dealing with a personal issue outside of work. This does not make it acceptable to be a know-it-all, but it may help reveal the pushy or opinionated behaviors of your boss.

If you have a know-it-all boss, encourage your company to conduct a 360 degree feedback project.  360 feedback can help employees gain a better understanding of how their work behaviors are perceived by co-workers, peers, managers and others.  This anonymous feedback will help to shine some light on communication issues and the manager can set goals toward improving upon this behavior.

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