Recently a new colleague joined our team. He came with great recommendations and seemed generally great at the job.
There were a few instances where I heard him being aggressive rather than assertive (in my opinion) with clients. Also he had a couple of minor run-ins with other colleagues. There were a couple of times he took me aside to point out (non-existent) mistakes that he perceived I’d made. I do obviously make mistakes sometimes but it was as if he was trying to put me down and was so eager to do so that he didn’t do his homework.
I hoped a lot of it was teething problems and I upped my game when it came to being friendly and supportive, hoping that would hide any wariness I had.
A few days ago he interrupted me while on the phone to a client and began dictating to me what I should say. I’d put the client on hold believing it was something crucial to the call he was about to tell me. Instead, without knowledge of the discussion I’d just had, he ordered me to say X, Y and Z.
I calmly told him no and tried to briefly say why. He became enraged. He smacked the desk, swore and raised his voice. When I (still trying to be professional) told him we could discuss this as soon as I’d ended the call but I had to get back to the client on hold he became even more angry and said that I don’t like him and he doesn’t like me and I think I’m better than him.
Ultimately he stormed off to our line manager, who later called me in and told me I’d made the right decision with how I’d handled the call. The colleague later apologised to me and said he’s just passionate about his work. I thanked him for his apology though I confess I didn’t find it very sincere.
Since then he has been affable, and I have been extra cautious. I would say that I am sensitive deep down so though I wouldn’t show myself upset, his words hurt me. I try very hard to get on with everyone in work and he knows a lot more than me in certain areas and may on balance be better than me (the anger fit aside). So I really believe his words were false at the time he used them. Albeit a self-fulfilling prophecy because now I don’t like him, and am having to hide that.
My issue is that in the last week or so he’s began telling me what to do in certain tasks. I’ve been taking the approach that if I agree or it isn’t important, I’ll say ‘good idea’ and follow through. But with his ‘advice’ being all the more frequent I'm concerned I shouldn’t be ‘giving way’ at all. It’s not his job to tell me what to do, but it’s completely normal for someone to ask someone else on the team for advice or help, so you could argue he isn’t overstepping with his ‘directions.’
I’m worried if I keep agreeing and keeping the peace when a future incident happens when he is completely wrong and I have to say ‘no’ again he’ll kick off worse than before. A big factor in all of this is that I find him physically intimidating as well as emotionally, so I’m not sure I’m looking at this logically. How should I respond to all future unsolicited direction?