How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers

February 6, 2019 posted by

Not every day at work is going to be a beautiful, bright, and shiny day full of productivity and meeting goals.  And to make matters worse, there’s often at least one difficult coworker we must cope with at work. We’re no strangers to this type of environment, and we’ve all encountered a colleague who winds up being a slacker, intimidator, or stealing all the glory.

An estimated 60% to 80% of work-related difficulties are due to poor relationships with coworkers. But many management consulting firms agree that getting along with coworkers is vital to the overall productivity toward business goals, as well as a personal sense of happiness in the workplace. For whatever reason, management sometimes fails to address a troublesome employee. So, how can a peer then deal with a problematic co-worker?

Strategies for Keeping the Peace

Sometimes difficulties can arise even from a distance. But also working closely in stressful situations can bring out the nastiness in some people. What most management consulting firms will advise is that it’s crucial to be able to address and neutralize a situation before anyone can make a damaging impact, especially when it comes to your job.

Considering some smart strategies for working with difficult people, remember that you can’t control how other people act, nor should you try. Focus instead on how you respond to their behavior, which may take some time but can help quell the tensions. Try to understand the offender’s situation. But also set ground rules for yourself and how you expect them to treat you. And always keep an open mind and open two-way dialogue.

You Must Deal with It

Choose your battles wisely. Some people are just plain obnoxious, and they wind up affecting more people than only you. They may eventually earn comeuppance, either by popular decision to correct it or by hubris. Some are a lot more difficult because they’re stealthy and subtle, critical and scrutinizing in ways that narrowly focus on you with no one else the wiser.

However, as a fact of life, you must learn to deal with difficult people. If you’re unable to or refuse to, the situation will only worsen without anyone addressing it adequately. Every day will become more miserable than the last. But in confronting it, it’s incredibly essential to stay within guidelines of company policy. Stay calm, shift your body language where necessary, and acknowledge any positive changes you see. No matter the type of unpleasant situation you find yourself in with a coworker, it’s vital to address it before the problem develops. And if nothing changes, with or without input from your superiors who may need a management consulting firm, consider leaving that job – it’s not worth it.

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