How to deal with difficult colleagues

How to deal with difficult colleagues

We’re never going to get along with everyone, event at work. Being able to deal with difficult colleagues is a skill worth perfecting as it’s something that won’t change throughout your career. Rather than reeling and making the situation worse here are some tips on how to deal with these people:


1. Stay calm

Losing your temper and lashing out at the other person typically isn't the best way to get them to work with you. Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, and more respectable. Would you prefer to work with someone who is predominantly calm or someone who is always on edge? By portraying this calm persona the person you are dealing with may be more inclined to talk to you, especially if they have done something wrong.


2. Remember that we’re all human

In times of stress it is especially important to remember that we all have off days and you don’t always know what is going on in someone’s life, which may impact how they are acting at work. So patience and time may be all that is needed for an individual to get through their sticky patch. It might be a case of asking them how they are and making sure everything is ok. This will help you understand their situation and allow you to come up with solutions together to address any work issues.


3. Be upfront

Some people just aren’t self-aware, so you may have to be upfront about discussing the problem you have with them whether that be turning up to meetings late or missing deadlines. For someone turning up a couple of minutes late to a meeting may not be a big deal, but what they aren’t realising is the impact that this has on everyone else involved. By having this conversation with them you are clearly letting them know it is an issue they need to address and if they carry on doing it then you are well within your right to escalate the problem.


4. Build a rapport

With all the computers, emails and messaging systems, work sometimes turns into a mechanical process and small issues with someone can be heightened because of the lack of face to face communication. Re-instil the human touch by connecting with your colleagues on a personal level. Go out with them for lunches or drinks after work, get to know a bit about their interest and hobbies and don’t just view them as a colleague. You will find it is much easier to have difficult work conversations when you know the person on a more personal level, as they know you have their best interest at heart.


5. Ignore

If you’ve exhausted all possible options to get along with this difficult colleague, then the best way might be to ignore them. Request to switch desks if you are sitting next to them and try to avoid getting stuck in the kitchen with them. Try to get on with your daily tasks as normal and only interact where necessary for the sake of work. Ultimately, the less time you spend with someone who is making your work life unenjoyable the better.


Head on over to the Monster website here for more advice on dealing with workplace issues.