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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ask the Boss

Q: How should you deal with a rude colleague?

Margarita Gokun Silver, president, Global Coach Center:

Often when encountering a rude colleague we tend to think that we brought this rudeness upon ourselves. 'It's probably my fault,' we think. 'What did I do?'

"The fact is that unless you really offended someone, it's never your fault. Rude people compensate for feelings of unhappiness, inferiority and not being fulfilled with rudeness and arrogance. So, some of the ways to deal with them are:

• Never think it's your fault. Instead, think that this person must be awfully unhappy. You'll feel sympathy, and that will make it easier to tolerate the behavior.

• Change your emotional response. Realize that while you cannot change this person's behavior, you can always change your response. Instead of feeling hurt and offended, try laughing it off. Or ignoring it. Think of different responses you can have in these incidences. Change those responses -- experiment. See which one works best for you.

• Confront the person. Assertively (but not aggressively) ask him or her why they are being rude. This question may work well: 'You seem out of sorts this morning. Something the matter?' Showing that you care may change this person's attitude. Just make sure not to be rude and judgmental yourself.

• If things are not looking well at all, the last resort might be to talk to the management. Your manager is there to make sure that the atmosphere at work is hospitable for everyone, and if you are having trouble working because of this person, the management's responsibility is to look into it."

Erik DePoy, strategist, Alfa Bank:

I would take no action -- in the sense of ignoring that person, not being helpful. Maybe that's being a bit passive-aggressive, but in an office situation you may be forced to sit right next to these people. You can't avoid them, but what you can do is give the cold shoulder and eventually they'll get the message. If someone is rude, chances are they've been rude to other people, and there's no need for you to draw attention to this. In fact, they're digging their own hole -- just let them continue."

Amir Godds, president, Golden Advisers:

First we should understand two basic principles: People tend to behave with us in the same way we behave with them; and people tend to behave with us the way we expect them to.

"Before dealing with a problem, we must diagnose the situation, and most of the time we have to start from ourselves. Most likely we did something they considered rude, while we didn't consider it rude at all. And they just responded by being rude. Or we unconsciously expect them to be rude with us and their unconscious mind takes the message from our body language. This unconscious expectation can be developed when, say, we see someone is rude while interacting with someone else and judge prematurely that he is a rude person and going to behave the same way with us.

"The worst thing we can do is to respond by being rude to them; it will get us into a loop where the relationship just gets worse. Finding the root and removing it will give us a much better result. We can also make these principles work for us by being polite and showing them with our nonverbal communication that we consider them polite, too."