You can’t always avoid dealing with difficult coworkers, but you can learn how to work more effectively and efficiently with them. Let’s look at some tips for dealing with difficult coworkers that will help make your day-to-day interaction a little easier.
What are some tips for dealing with difficult coworkers?
No one likes difficult people at work. They are hard to deal with, often make others feel stressed out, and can be a huge distraction on the job. But how do you handle being on a team with a coworker who is just plain difficult? If you’re being targeted with rude remarks, put-downs, and other disrespectful behavior, it’s a toxic environment and it’s probably time to address the issue.
1. Identify the problem
Find out what the reason is behind their behavior. If it’s just a personality clash, you can choose to either stay away from difficult coworkers or confront them and try to work things out.
If there is no easy solution, however, then your best bet might be removing yourself from their presence as much as possible so that they don’t have a chance to get under your skin.
2. Take a break from the situation
If things are getting difficult, you can always take some time away from your coworker for a little while so that they have time to cool off. Do not say anything in the heat of the moment that will make matters even worse than before. When you return, you can reconnect with them and try to have a more positive relationship.
3. Try to understand where your coworker is coming from
Sometimes, the reason that they are acting this way might be because of something going on in their personal life. If you can try to understand where they’re coming from and help them out as much as possible without doing too much for them, it will make your relationship with them a lot smoother.
4. Try not to take their actions personally
Remember, difficult people often lash out at others as a result of stress or frustration. This does not necessarily mean that your coworker is upset with you specifically. If they are having trouble working together on something, you can approach them calmly and explain what the problem might be so that both of you can find a solution to fix it without making things worse.
5. Communicate your concerns directly to them
If you have the opportunity to speak with your difficult coworker, calmly explain what is going on and how it has been affecting you. If they are just lonely or dealing with some sort of personal issue that is spilling out into their work life, then this conversation might be a good chance for them to vent about whatever problems they may currently be facing.
If you are dealing with someone who is unresponsive or simply unwilling to change their behavior, then this might be a time for professional support. You can talk about the situation with your human resources department and see what they recommend in terms of next steps.
Make sure they know that if there is no improvement in the future, more serious action will have to be taken. Often this can bring about a positive change in their behavior.
6. Avoid gossip and drama
Don’t let yourself get caught up in gossip or drama that has nothing to do with you – it’s just going to make things worse for everyone involved. Avoid getting involved in drama going on around you, and stick to the task at hand.
7. Keep a journal of all incidents
Keep track of everything that happens between you and your coworker, including any interactions or encounters that might have happened. Journaling will help you refer back to what actually transpired in case things get out of hand quickly.
8. Set boundaries for yourself and others
If your coworker is targeting you, it’s essential to set boundaries for yourself. Set limits on what you are willing to tolerate from this person. You should also explain these boundaries to the difficult person in question so that they clearly understand what is and isn’t appropriate.
9. Stay positive
Remember, negative energy will only make the situation worse. Try to stay positive and deal with your coworker in a friendly way whenever possible, even if they constantly mistreat you. Keep this in mind when they’re taking their frustrations out on others around you as well – don’t let yourself get drawn into the drama that has nothing to do with you.
10. Build allies and support networks
If the problematic coworker is targeting several people at once, it’s crucial to build an ally network so that you can stay strong and supported as well as maintain your composure during those challenging situations. You should also maintain good relationships with other coworkers by getting involved in activities outside of work.
11. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If things are escalating quickly and you feel like they pose a danger to your physical or mental well-being, it’s time to talk about this with someone who can try to deal with the situation in an official capacity (such as your manager). Discuss how this affects everyone at work and what can be done to improve the situation. If your work requirements are not in line with what is required of everyone else at work- or if they deviate from company standards- be sure to let management know how this affects you and your ability to do a good job.
If they do not take any action on this matter or choose to side with their difficult employee, you might need to start looking for a new job.
Rather than letting these situations get out of hand or blowing up at them entirely, it would be best if you dealt effectively with a problematic coworker so no relationship – professional or personal – is damaged. If you have exhausted all options, switch jobs as a last resort, as it’s important to be in a positive environment where your skills are respected and appreciated.