How to Deal with Difficult Co-Workers

By: Megan Jones

In one lifetime or the next you are most likely going to interact with a coworker that isn’t your perfect match. On one hand, having a diverse population among co-workers is a wonderful thing! You get different perspectives and it can lead to groundbreaking success. However, the reality is some personalities are not compatible with each other, but must still work with each other. If you do have a co-worker that you are experiencing difficulties with, look no further! Here are 5 tips on how to deal with difficult co-workers.

The Importance of Knowing How to Work with a Difficult Co-worker

Within the workplace, you will encounter different types of personalities and not everyone will be a perfect match. However, being able to navigate situations without conflict or being successful at conflict resolution is imperative to your success in the workplace. Furthermore, having a positive work reputation is essential in getting future promotions. Being well liked among the majority of your co-workers can go a long way. Therefore, it is important to know and be able to navigate working with different co-workers.

5 Tips for How to Deal with Difficult Co-workers

Voicing Your Opinion

Although you may feel hesitant to speak your mind, you absolutely should be able to speak candidly with your coworker. Open communication ensures that there is not any animosity, or words left unsaid. However, when speaking your mind and especially if you are in conflict with a coworker it is important to use “I” vs “You” language. For example:

I feel as though I am not being heard. VS  You never listen to my input.

By using “I” language you are stating your feelings and you not blaming or pointing the finger at your co-worker. In some cases, your co-worker may be unaware of their actions and their impact. In other cases they may act defensive against you and may react negatively.

Actively Listen to Their Perspective

Everyone deserves to feel heard even if you blatantly disagree. Flex your active listening skills to your co-worker and try and understand their perspective. This can help you understand their thought process and why they are thinking or feeling the way they are.

Stay Neutral at Work

It may be difficult, but staying neutral in the workplace is exceptionally beneficial. Work gossip does exist and your involvement may be shared with other people without you knowing. Keep your input neutral or positive to ensure you are not contributing to work gossip and your words aren’t misconstrued by others. Additionally, do not be one to spread work gossip, as this can be damaging to your reputation. Avoid talking on behalf of others or repeating what someone said about another co-worker to another co-worker.

Know Your Triggers

It is important to know what begins to frustrate you about a co-worker. Once you have narrowed your trigger, if it occurs when you are interacting, take a deep breath and focus on letting it go to relieve any tension or stress it causes. You can try and pivot the conversation or, if appropriate, you can excuse yourself from the situation. Do your best to know your triggers and find work appropriate ways to avoid them.

Talk to Your Supervisor

Some interactions may need to be escalated. If anything inappropriate or a situation makes you uncomfortable speak to your supervisor for advice and to inform them of the situation. Additionally, informing your manager ensures that there is a record of an incidence occurring. If you never make your supervisor aware of your situation and it escalates, you may surprise your manager and this may impact what can be done about what happened.

Navigating  situations with coworkers can be difficult, but we know you can manage these situations and keep your working reputation shining!

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12 Ways to Deal With a Difficult Co-Worker-Indeed

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