Strategy The biggest mistake people make when dealing with the office jerk, according to a Stanford professor

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Robert Sutton, professor of management at Stanford University, shares his insight on mistakes to avoid while dealing with workplace jerks.

Make sure that you're not a jerk, too. play

Make sure that you're not a jerk, too.

(MR. Nattanon Kanchak/Shutterstock)
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When you're dealing with an office jerk, it can be easy to let your emotions get the best of you.

After all, confrontation isn't easy for everyone.

So it might be tempting to just get things over with and call the person out.

But according to Robert Sutton, professor of management at Stanford University and author of "The No Asshole Rule" and "The Asshole Survival Guide," this would be a huge mistake.

He told Business Insider it's crucial to take a deep breath before tangling with the bane of your professional existence.

"Most of us human beings have pretty limited self-awareness," he said. "To the extent you can slow down and do a sanity check, and ask, 'Am I just crazy or are they treating me like dirt?' you'll be in better shape."

Sutton said that's because people have a tendency to criticize others without questioning our own behavior. He said this is a tendency he encountered firsthand while writing his two books on bad office behavior.

"We're quick to label other people as jerks and slow to label ourselves as a jerk or at least part of the problem," he said. "Human beings are just terrible at seeing our own problems."

So before you start throwing proverbial stones at someone at work, actually think about whether or not you're being thin-skinned or hypocritical by doing so. That's not to say you always should back down and avoid confronting jerks in the office. It's just important to be self-aware if you truly want to solve the issue.

"We tend not to take enough responsibility for creating part of the problem," Sutton said.