How to handle upstart juniors

Everyone hates obnoxious colleagues. They are a pain. But there is something as worse as such colleagues, or maybe even more. They are – upstart juniors. There are times when you come across smart ass juniors who think they are way better than you and the rest of the office. They literally get on your nerves. You may feel like being downright rude and giving them a tongue lashing, but it won’t really solve the problem. They will take in a negative way most of the times, probably thinking that you’re threatened by their supposed greatness. Like that’s happening.

So, the question arises – how do you get them in control? First of all, don’t lose your cool. That is one of the worst things ever. It will just show you in a bad light. Plus who knows what you may blurt out in anger. What you need to do is make them aware of their behaviour. Do not just say that they are being presumptuous or disrespectful. This will raise their hackles and make them defensive. You need to specifically point out their shortcomings. For example, when they try to go over your head, let them know that isn’t how it is done and there is a specific chain of command to be followed.

If the junior still doesn’t desist from such behaviour then it is time for a serious discussion. Properly narrate all the problems that you have with him/her. Your tone should not be offensive but matter of fact. Basically, he/she should not feel that you are aggressively attacking him/her. You need to be professional and calm. Of course, chances are that the junior may get defensive. For example, he may try to blame you. You can then reply by saying that at that moment he is the subject of this discussion the focus is on him and later he can discuss any problems that he has with you. You have to be unfazed by their attempts to verbally attack you. This will show that you won’t take any nonsense. You have to be the mature one in the room. Let them know that there aren’t any hard feelings and that you are willing to give them a chance to work on their behaviour. Be like Yoda, the wise mentor. Eventually, the junior will come back to mother earth when he/she sees that there is no other option but to improve their attitude.

It may seem hard at first but eventually you will be able to reach the junior and correct their behaviour. Handling upstart juniors requires patience and a strong will, and you will need to inculcate that.