7 Ways To Handle Disrespect In The Workplace Without Losing Your Mind

Last Updated on January 22, 2023 by Milton Campbell

Workplace disrespect comes in many forms. If you’re disrespected at work, it’s not something to brush off. It’s a problem that needs to be addressed, or it can have serious implications for your self-esteem and your career. In this article, you will find many tips on how to handle disrespect in the workplace.

When you are being disrespectful at work, there are several ways to handle it. But it all starts with recognizing what is happening. Here are some of the most common forms of disrespect in the workplace.

Types Of Disrespectful Behavior In The Workplace

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Gossip – Gossiping about other people is perhaps the most common form of disrespect in the workplace. Gossiping can be defined as “talking about someone’s shortcomings behind their back.” This can be done maliciously or well-intentioned but could still end up damaging someone’s reputation.

Bullying – Workplace bullying is a major problem in many organizations. It is considered to be any repeated, health-harming mistreatment of one or more persons (the targets) by one or more perpetrators. The targets are often, but not always, subordinates and the perpetrators are typically people in positions of authority, such as a boss.

Yelling – A common problem shared by many employees is the boss who yells at employees or berates them in public. If your boss is yelling at you in front of your co-workers, there are ways to handle the situation. First, remain calm and do not make excuses for yourself. If you yell back, it will make things worse. Remain calm and think rationally about how you can defuse the situation.

By remaining calm, you will hopefully be able to gain control. You can even acknowledge that there is a problem. By apologizing for whatever issue has caused him to lose his temper in the first place. This may reduce tensions and help him regain his composure.

Harassment – Harassment in the workplace does not always take the form of physical assault. But it can be as damaging to your health and your career prospects.

People who are harassed at work report feeling tense, distracted, frustrated, miserable, angry, and confused. They’re also more likely to get sick and miss work.

Why Are People Disrespectful In The Workplace?

The first step in finding out how to handle disrespect in the workplace is finding the reason for disrespect. Below are some of the reasons disrespect can happen.


We often hear people talk about “having an ego” in the workplace. That can be a good thing, but too much ego can bring down professional relationships.

Ego is defined as “an inflated sense of one’s importance. A belief in one’s superiority, or concern more for oneself than for others.” The problem with ego is that it can get in the way of productivity, innovation, and creativity. People with too much ego are usually more concerned with looking good in the eyes of others rather than solving problems. This could lead to inappropriate employee behaviors.

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Ego vs. Confidence. Confidence is different from ego. It is the belief in your ability to do something well or succeed at something. It helps you take risks, make decisions and initiate action without being afraid of failure. Confidence means being self-assured and believing in yourself and that can be an asset in the workplace. Ego, on the other hand, is what you have when you’re so full of yourself that you think you’re better than everyone. Entitled to certain privileges above others. Keeping egos in check is key to a respectful work environment.


Others may be frustrated by their lack of job security or opportunities for advancement. Some are envious of others’ talents, popularity, income, or position. This envy may lead to intimidation. Coworkers may feel intimidated and resort to disrespect.


Sometimes people may not realize they are being disrespectful. Maybe they grew up in an environment where their type of behavior is acceptable. They think they are doing everything the right way and don’t know any better. This is especially the case with poor leadership. Many times they are following what the bosses before them did.

Tips on How To Handle Disrespect In The Workplace

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Find The Reason For The Disrespect in The Workplace

Ask yourself “Why is this person disrespectful?” It may be one of the reasons above or it could be something else. Understanding this will help you know what tactic for dealing with it will work best. You may want to talk to others about it to get their opinion on it. They may see something you’re not seeing.

Don’t Ignore It

Address a disrespectful job environment immediately. The longer you wait to address inappropriate behavior or comments, the harder it will be to address. If you can’t address it immediately, set up a time you and your employee or coworker can discuss it privately and calmly.

Disagreements and differing viewpoints are bound to happen in any work environment. But there’s a big difference between an occasional disagreement about how to accomplish a task or who should handle which aspect of a project. Don’t let disrespectful behavior go unchecked.

Make sure you’ve done all you can to resolve conflicts with your coworker before involving human resources or another supervisor. You don’t want to give an impression that there’s no other way for them to get their needs met.

Have A Talk With The Perpetrator

One of the first steps to finding a solution is figuring out what’s causing the disrespect. Without knowing that, you can’t come up with a solution. The simplest way to figure out what’s behind the disrespectful attitude is to talk with the disrespectful employee.

There are two ways to do this. The first is direct. Sit down with him or her, look him in the eye, and ask, “Am I doing something that’s causing you to act like this?” Your employee might surprise you by giving you an honest answer here.

The second option is indirect. Talk to your employee about what he’d like to see a change in the workplace. He may complain about other people or his workload or any number of things. Take that answer and ask yourself what you can do to help. For example, if he says he wants more time for personal projects, whether they’re paid or unpaid, see what you can do about it. If there isn’t anything you can do, make sure he knows that. Let him know that while you don’t have control over his situation, you want him to feel supported either way.

Keep Your Cool

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When you feel disrespected, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. You can’t control others, but you can control how you react to them. Don’t let your emotions get the best of you. In many cases, there’s no need to respond to disrespect with disrespect.

Remember that actions speak louder than words. Be as professional and respectful as possible when letting someone know that they have crossed a line. State your case calmly and clearly so that there is no room for confusion or misinterpretation.

Show that you’re more mature than those who have disrespected you. By trying to resolve issues privately before involving anyone or escalating any problems.

Keep A Positive Attitude

A great way to deal with this situation is to keep a positive attitude and focus on getting your job done. That way, you’ll show your co-workers that it doesn’t bother you. That they can trust you to handle this type of behavior without taking it personally or making a big deal out of it.

A disrespectful job environment can be a huge stressor, but you don’t have to let it get to you. The more you can let it not bother you, the better you will be.

Talk to a Supervisor or HR

You might be wondering, “How do I know when it’s time to talk to my supervisor about disrespect in the workplace?”

The truth is that you should try to handle disrespectful employees at the lowest level possible. If you’ve tried everything within your power and the disrespectful behavior continues, then it might be time for you to bring it to a supervisor’s attention.

So what does “within your power” mean? It means that you should always try talking directly with the employee first. If that doesn’t work, then talk with their manager or supervisor. If that doesn’t work, then speak with HR about how to handle the situation.

Time to Leave

If all else fails, it may be time to find a new job. It stinks to have to find a new job because of the actions of others. But your well-being and happiness in the workplace are important. Our work life can have effects on our home life, so it’s important to be as happy as possible.

Final Thoughts

Disrespect in the workplace can be a huge motivation killer. The quicker you can deal with the disrespect, the happier you will be.

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