Dealing with a Know-it-All Boss

A Know-it-All is someone who always thinks their opinion is the most important and most accurate. They feel their ideas should be listened to, but have little patience when it comes to hearing what anyone else has to say. They have an opinion about everything and want to be in charge of every project. A Know-it-All does not want to be held accountable for anything that goes wrong, but does want the credit for everything that goes right. Fortunately, these types of coworkers are easy to spot. Unfortunately, they’re difficult to work with.

When dealing with a Know-it-All, the first thing you have to remember is not to let this person get under your skin. They are going to act like this no matter what you do. You cannot change their behavior, so you must concentrate on achieving the best possible working relationship you can. Demonstrate that you are eager to listen to the Know-it-All, and even ask clarifying questions so they know you are taking them seriously: practice being an active listener. Ask their opinion before they offer it. Remember, the goal is to get the work done without them holding up the process with rants about how much more they know than you.

For example, “Paul, I know you did it that way in the past and it seems to have worked well, so what do you think if we build on your idea and add XY and Z? Do you have some suggestions for how we move forward?”

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