Have A Know-It-All Coworker? Here’s how to deal with a Know-It-All

Last Update on July 20, 2022 : Published on July 20, 2022

I used to work in the psychiatry ward of a hospital for a brief period of time. The psychologist under whom I was working would always interrupt my suggestions, ideas, diagnoses, etc. For some reason, she would always tell me how my assumptions were baseless or how she had a better plan.

It took me no time in realizing that she was a Know-It-All kind of person. Her Know-it-all behavior made the work environment very toxic and stressful. I started to resent going to work only because her know-it-all personality just made me less productive and more anxious.

And I decided to Quit!

Now, I did that only because I had no idea how to deal with a know-it-all personality. I was, at that time,  privileged enough to leave my job for the sake of my mental health but not many have the liberty to do so.

Dealing with a know-it-all is important without having to escape. I have managed to come up with a list of strategies that can be used in order to manage a know-it-all coworker.

But before we get to that let’s quickly look at the psychology of a know-it-all personality

Understanding The Psychology Of Know-It-Alls

Psychology Of Know-It-Alls

Know-it-alls are people who seem to have an opinion about anything and everything in this whole wide world. A know-it-all proudly claims to have knowledge about every damn thing. A know-it-all has a hard time listening to others because they can’t resist but put their point forward before people even finish what they are saying.

According to experts who studied know-it-all behavior,

know-it-all has a very poor self-image. So, to boost your self-image and self-worth they engage in one-upping other people. Know-it-alls always feel the need to put their point across because they are so conscious about having an impressive persona.

Little do they know that this know-it-all behavior annoys the hell out of other people. Know-it-all never listens to what others are saying because they have already thought of what information they want to slap at your face next. So, irrespective of whether you making a complete point or not, they will release their own verdict.

Now that you know how a know-it-all thinks, let’s understand how you can deal with a know-it-all coworker but before that let’s quickly look at the signs of a know-it-all personality

Signs Of A Know-It-All Coworker

Now, it’s not very difficult to stop a Know-It-All coworker. They are pretty much in your face all the time. They are a constant reminder of how dumb wit you are and how smart and superior they are. For some reason, sometimes a Know-It-All coworker can escape our observation and we might just end up beating ourselves for not being good enough.

Here are a few signs you need to look out for in people working with you to stop a Know-It-All coworker;

1. You will find a Know-It-All coworker telling people what to do and how to live their lives, irrespective of how bad their life is.

2. They have been fortunate enough to have succeeded in life and leave no chance of bragging about it

3. They enjoy one-upping other people, so no matter how hard you have worked they will always tell you they have worked a minute harder than you

4. They will be the first ones to pass on advice on every damn thing but you will never see them taking advice from anyone

5. You will always see them pointing out several mistakes but you’ll hardly see them rectifying mistakes

6. They are pretty judgemental, they will not bat an eye before accusing you of being the one at fault

7. Other’s struggles always seem so little to them

How to Deal with a Know-It-All in the Workplace?

Deal With A Know-It-All Coworker

Managing a know-it-all coworking can be tough but it’s not impossible. It’s true they are annoying but they too are struggling with the internal pressure of making a mark in society. They want to be heard and known and perhaps that’s why they have adapted this way of being.

Here’s how you can deal with a know-it-all coworker;

1. Acknowledge Them:

all a know-it-all needs is some acknowledgment for the knowledge they possess.  If you provide a piece of information in the middle of what you were saying, acknowledge what they just said and continue with what you were saying.

Once they start feeling acknowledged, heard, and safe around you they will stop their know-it-all behavior at least with you.

2. Get to know them:

you should never judge a book by its cover. Even though it makes you cringe to spend time with a know-it-all but make some efforts in getting to know them better.

Their know-it-all behavior might have stemmed from some insecurities or painful past experiences. You can help them process these feelings and move past them.

3. Focus on probing questions:

when a know-it-all begins to shove information into your face, ask them detailed questions. Ask them about facts related to their information, how credible their information is, etc. This will immediately shut an egoistic know-it-all down.

4. Don’t take them to your heart:

once you identify someone as a know-it-all and their behavior has started to irritate you, just try to not take them seriously. Just listen and let go of whatever they say. Your sanity is in your hands.

5. Be honest with a know-it-all:

it’s important to honestly tell someone how you feel about them. Now, while you do that make sure you do it in the form of constructive feedback. Know-it-alls are very fragile people and you will have to handle them with care.

6. Be patient:

when around a know-it-all try to be as patient as you can. Once they have boosted their informed piece of the brain they’ll stop talking. Be patient for your own sake, don’t withhold your opinions but don’t take their comments personally.

7. Choose your battles:

a know-it-all will give you a million opportunities to get into a flight with them. It’s you who has to decide whether it’s worth it or not.

That’s All Folks!

That’s all about know-it-alls and how you can deal with a know-it-all coworker. Managing a know-it-all coworker is very important in order to have mental peace at your workplace.

A know-it-all can only add to your workplace stress so it’s better to learn how to deal with know-it-all coworkers.

Thanks for reading.

Take care and stay safe.

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About The Author

Kirti Bhati
Kirti Bhati

I am an English literature (major) and psychology (minor) graduate from St. Bede’s College, Shimla. Postgraduate in Clinical psychology from IIS University, Jaipur. She has published a Research paper on Music therapy in the military population and Workplace stress in a national seminar conducted by Fortis hospital (gurugram) and international seminar conducted by St. Bede’s College, Shimla, Respectively. Authored a dissertation work on ‘effect of social media addiction on the mental and physical well-being in adolescents’ Currently working at calm sage as a writer.

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