How to deal with difficult colleagues

Arran Williams, January 5, 2017

Not everyone is going to be best friends at work.

The truth of the matter is, within every work place you will more than likely to come across someone who makes your life more difficult than it should be.

This blog will take a look at some of the most common and effective ways in which you can deal with problem co-workers.

Keep your cool

cool-catThis may seem easier said than done when a difficult colleague is getting on your last nerve. However, it’s important to not make a situation even worse, especially with your fellow colleagues around you.

Take a deep breath and slowly count to 10. This is a great way to get some clarity on the situation and stop you from saying/doing something that you will later regret.

If you’re still angry after doing so, take some time away by yourself to clear your head before trying to sort out the situation.

Top tip - Before you send an angry email, take a breather, work on something else for an hour and see if you still want to send it once you have calmed down.

Act sooner rather than later

It’s best to nip the problem in the bud before it snowballs out of control. It could be that a co-worker is unaware of what he/she is doing is actually causing a problem. Allowing it to go on could imply to them that their behavior is acceptable.

The longer you leave a toxic situation, the more likely you will become angrier about it. This could lead to you reacting in a negative way when you come to address the issue.
Speak to a friend, family member, or a trusted member of staff and see if they can offer you advice on how to approach the individual about it.

Don’t become a complainer

complainNaturally, when there are issues at work with co-workers, we turn to our work friends to have a vent. Although getting problems off your chest is great, you also run the risk of becoming an ‘office complainer’ if you vent to anyone willing to listen.

If addressing the issue in a calm way with a difficult colleague doesn’t work, take the problem up with HR or someone more senior to get the situation resolved. Complaining about it to everyone can lead others to believe that you are the cause of problems and conflicts that are happening.

Rise above it

In the words of Michelle Obama, “when they go low, we go high.”
It can be tempting to stoop to someone else’s level to get back at them, but this tends to never rectify an issue and can just add fuel to the fire.

The best option is to take the moral high ground and handle the situation with dignity. You will thank yourself later for doing this and not getting into a slagging match in the heat of the moment.

Let it go

let-it-goJust like Frozen, it might just be time to let things go. When arguing with a difficult colleague you might find yourself going around in circles, which is equally as frustrating.

The time that you have at work is valuable, so don’t waste it on trying to change or convince a person who is stuck in a negative mind frame that they are in the wrong. At least you tried, the rest is up to them.

Being able to deal with difficult colleagues in a calm and professional manner can make a huge difference to your work life and will keep a weight off your shoulders.

If you are experiencing difficult people at work or in your day to day life, we hope that our tips and advice can help you! If you have found other methods that have worked, drop us a message as we’d love to share your helpful advice.