How to Deal With a Difficult Coworker

15 May

We all deal with difficult people every day. Some are rude and impolite, some like confrontation, and others just don’t seem to get it. This isn’t that big of a deal if you don’t have to be around these people, but a whole new problem is presented when its a coworker. You can’t just get a new coworker, or never see them again (like a customer, or a stranger in the street). You have to deal with them every single day. I’ve had enough of these coworkers, that I think a few tips on how to deal with them are in order:

  • Change your scenery. When you work around the same coworker long enough and often enough, things that they may do can start to get old and irritate you more. By simply trying to take a break when you start to feel the stress, or working with a different coworker or by yourself for awhile can be enough to diffuse the tension and let you both continue your jobs.
  • Don’t fuel the fire. I’m especially prone to retaliating. My thought process is often along the lines of You think you can use me? Well, I can do the same thing and get you to do what you are trying to avoid! This isn’t usually a good thing. Doing things like this are childish, and don’t solve anything. This can lead to bigger confrontations, and more tension between you.
  • Lend a helping hand. Sometimes, a coworkers bad attitude is caused by something outside of work. Thats usually the case with everyone, so whether its stress at home, or even feelings of worthlessness at the job, by asking if anything is wrong or helping them out to do their jobbetter can be extremely useful to help bring that attitude back to the positives.
  • Get a third party involved. I am not one to look for outside help in most situations. I like to handle things myself, and usually just ignore the debbie-downer coworker, but sometimes you’ve done all you can, and the situation still isn’t any better. Bringing in a supervisor or manager can be extremely helpful. A happy workplace is a productive workplace, and productivity is their main goal. It also helps if you acknowledge that you have no ill intentions toward said coworker, and that you’ve tried to deal with it yourself, but are out of options.
  • Move on. If you are around a coworker with a bad attitude long enough, your productivity and attitude are going to be affected too. If you absolutely cannot deal with them anymore, and have exhausted all your other options, you might just need to get a new job. No one should be unhappy at their jobs, so look for somewhere better.

How do you deal with difficult coworkers? Need to vent about someone?

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