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Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers


Tags:  Difficult co-worker

Fresh out of college Karen joined her current employer with idealism and excitement at the prospect of working with a great team of people. However, her passion was quickly doused when one of her co-workers ended up being beyond difficult.
 
Stanley was arrogant, obnoxious and seemed to truly believe that he had all the answers. He would interrupt other team members and dominate the conversation. Karen was amazed that he hadn't been fired. But then she realized that no one was willing to say anything about the situation, except behind his back.
 
What Karen came to realize was that Stanley was extremely insecure about his place on the team, felt competitive with the other members and knew that people didn't like him, but he didn't really seem to equate his rude behavior with his co-worker's dislike.
 
If you find yourself working with a difficult co-worker, here are ten things you should consider doing to correct the situation:
 
You have a choice. Look at how you approach the person to determine if any of your own behaviors contribute to their reaction. Often times we influence how people deal with us. The only person you can control is you.
 
Don't lay blame. Pointing fingers merely stirs the pot. It doesn't really matter who is at fault as long as things improve. Work to improve the situation.
 
Stop the gossip. Quite often someone's bad behavior becomes the talk of the town. Don't lower yourself to that level. Either deal with the situation and have a conversation with the offending co-worker, or move on. But don't feel that someone else's bad behavior gives you the right to act up.
 
Take a breather. Step back from the situation. If you become upset or angry, go somewhere to cool off before confronting the person. Release your negative feelings so you can deal with them in a calm, professional manner.
 
Look at the problem. Avoid generalities and focus on specifics. Identify the inappropriate behavior you want corrected, so it can be addressed. Don't expect someone to get a complete personality transplant.
 
Take responsibility. No one will know that you are upset or annoyed unless you tell them so. Be willing to talk face-to-face about the situation in a private place and in a non-accusatory manner. Be willing to offer options as well as give and get feedback.
 
Listen actively. When you talk with the other person, avoid inappropriate behaviors like deep sighs or rolling your eyes. Be in the moment and really listen to what they have to say. There may be additional clues on how to handle the situation.
 
Seek agreement. Whenever possible, find areas of agreement. Determine if there is some common ground that you both can agree upon. If all else fails, agree to disagree.
 
Remain calm. If you find that the conversation is not going in the direction you would like, the other person is not listening or has become defensive, don't react. Your frustration will only fuel the situation.
 
Document the meeting. Just like any other meeting you might have, you'll want to keep notes of this one. You never know when you'll need the information later.
 
While dealing with difficult co-workers can be an unpleasant situation, there are things that you can learn from taking charge and being responsible. You might just find there is a nice person lurking behind that bad behavior.


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