Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers

Early on in our childhoods we’re taught to get along with others. We were told things like, “treat others how you’d like to be treated” and “sharing is caring”. If we ever faced a bully, or didn’t get along with others, we were told to take the high road. Now that we’ve grown up we face the challenge of dealing with difficult co-workers.

This becomes problematic because unlike in school, where our classmates changed every year, our co-workers rarely change. Even though we might not get along, we are unified by needing this job to make money. Having to deal with a difficult co-worker can be extremely stressful, and cause a lot of unnecessary pressure. This uncomfortable situation causes tension at work, making the job more difficult than it needs to be. So, how do you fix it?

According to Oprah, whether you’re dealing with a lazy boss, or an aggressive co-worker, poor work relations can affect the whole company. You need to be able to figure out the root of your problems with your co-worker. Was it a confrontation that made you irritated with him or her? Did they say something offensive? Is it just a problem you mentally created or can they fix the problem? Understanding the problem is the first step to resolving your issues.

After locating and understanding the problem, your next task will be getting to know your co-worker. If the problem is within their actions, you need to figure out their motivation for acting that way. Are they like this with other co-workers? Do they have unusual amount of stress causing them to behave this way? Maybe this is just how they are. Once you figure out their motive, you can address the problem head on. Maybe you just need to be blunt and talk to them. You also might need to involve your boss, or another trusted co-worker to be a neutral witness.

Dealing with difficult people is a problem that will occur constantly throughout your life. The challenge will be how you handle them. When problems begin affecting our work and attitudes, we need to address them.

Letting anger, or any other negative emotion build up over time is not good for you and can affect your health. Don’t let a negative co-worker have that kind of power over you.