How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / April 14, 2022
Dealing with difficult coworkers is rarely pleasant but often required. When the time comes, you can enhance your reputation by staying calm.

It’s unfortunate but inevitable. You’ll run into coworkers with whom you may not agree or even butt heads with occasionally. Nevertheless, it is important to be able to deal with difficult coworkers. This will benefit not only your career but also help maintain a healthier and happier work environment.

Having a difficult coworker can affect your productivity, professionalism, and even happiness at work. If you follow some of the suggestions below, you will be able to develop skills that can assist you in dealing with difficult coworkers as well as aiding in your own personal development.

1. Examine your own behavior.

Take a step back and analyze what is causing this reaction within you.

Analyze your actions and reactions towards the coworker who is causing you problems. Are you the one who is creating conflict or is it simply a clash of personalities? Be honest with yourself and examine your conduct in their presence.

Determine which of the problematic coworkers’ actions impact you and the reasoning behind it. By understanding the triggers of these feelings, you will be able to cope with them more effectively.

2. Address the issue.

One of the most common mistakes you can make is failing to address the issue and allowing resentment to grow. As a result, you will become irritated just by the mere presence of the difficult colleague, and you will find that you are unable to resolve any issues you have with them.

The goal is to confront the issue head-on so that you and your coworker can learn and work on improving the working relationship.

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Think about their viewpoint when you address the issue, and be responsible for your own actions and feelings. The most effective way to deal with a problem colleague is to address him or her respectfully and calmly — addressing them with anger and contempt will only exacerbate the problem.

3. Set boundaries.

It’s important not only to set boundaries in your personal life but also in your professional career. These boundaries can be physical, mental, or even emotional.

When you establish boundaries, you will be able to communicate what you are comfortable with and what people can expect from you. Having clear boundaries can prevent unpleasant situations from recurring without ever escalating into negative territory.

Setting your own boundaries can help you learn to respect others and overall create a safe environment. That way, everyone feels empowered, understood, and respected.

4. Show compassion.

Kindness can go a long way in dealing with a difficult coworker, as well as in life as a whole.

It may be that your coworker is having difficulties and is projecting their own problems onto you. You can make someone’s entire day better when you demonstrate compassion and respect.

Whatever the circumstances are, whether a coworker is being unprofessional or if you feel they are, there is always the opportunity to demonstrate that you are the more responsible employee and handle situations with maturity.

You will be able to create a better working environment if you do not “stoop to their level,” so to speak, because you will allow the person to learn from their mistakes and take responsibility for their actions.

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5. Talk to your boss.

In the event that your coworker is making you uncomfortable or interfering with your workability, and you have tried to deal with the situation maturely, it may be time to consult a supervisor.

You should be able to count on your boss to represent your own interests as well as those of the company. They should assist you in resolving any conflicts before they become a serious problem.

It is important that there is always a sense of safety and respect in the workplace. Sometimes, supervisor involvement is necessary.

6. Focus on the positive.

It’s important that the majority of your relationships at work are positive and productive. Make a point of developing constructive and beneficial relationships with all others.

Do this instead of being concerned with the strain as you deal with difficult coworkers. Establishing a positive example of workplace discourse can potentially persuade your problematic coworker to follow your example.

Fostering a productive work environment can have the impact of inspiring others to take positive actions.

About The Author

Megan Oosthuizen

Megan Oosthuizen loves anything local (especially food), indulging in video games on her Switch, and occasionally binging a true crime podcast. She can often be found drinking coffee at Lakota, watching RuPaul’s Drag Race, or evangelizing about the importance of skincare.


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