"First and probably the most important, you need to accept that people don't set out to be disruptive," she says. "They're not on their commute to work thinking 'Hey, how am I going to cause havoc today?' These are things that just happen, so you have to keep the assumption of malice out. The fact is that a lot of people don't know they're being disruptive. They don't even understand that their behavior is aberrant, and what might be disruptive in one culture might be completely acceptable in another culture."
Lay the ground rules
"You really have to lay out the rules of engagement of where you are. Even if you and I were standing next to each other and someone did something, I might be completely offended by it and you might say, what's the big deal? That's what makes this tricky, but you have to make sure you're clear about what's OK and what's not," Foster says. "So if someone is behaving badly and they don't perceive it then the only recourse you really have in the workforce is to set limits with them."
Know what you're seeing
"I don't advocate labeling people, saying 'You're a Flytrap, done,'" Foster says. "But I do think that people can be categorized by themes in their behavior, and those themes can be generalized and there are certain behaviors that come with it, and that intervening with those behaviors can be very helpful."
"You have to call out what you see when you see or hear it, because early intervention is absolutely key. When you've decided you're ready to call something out and make an intervention, you must be concise and direct and clear when you communicate. If you in your discomfort about direct intervention use a lot of words to say a short thing, your message could very easily get lost," Foster says.
"So even if you're working for a boss and they're making you feel horrible and the intervention isn't really going to change that person, the ability to say, 'The way that you're acting doesn't feel good to me,' or 'I'm not in agreement with the way you're treating me,' that alone can be therapeutic for people."
"The ultimate question is, if in workplace after workplace I'm having trouble with people, am I in fact the schmuck in my office?" Foster asks. "If everyone is around you is an idiot and a jerk and it's their problem over and over again, you need to look around and say, 'Am I in the right business? Am I in the right culture? Or am I the one bringing personality issues to work with me that's causing trouble here?' It's always good to be a little bit self-reflective before you jump to blaming others and getting angry at them."
This article originally appeared on NBC News