We all have that one co-worker that makes us cringe when they walk into the office. That person who talks a little too loudly, the one who gossips, who says inappropriate things, chomps on their food like a rabid T-rex, or who just simply grates on your nerves. At this point, you should already have at least one person in mind—and that’s okay.
It’s okay to be annoyed or to feel apprehensive when working with someone.
What’s not okay is to take your annoyance out on that person.
While you can’t control how they will act, you can decide how (or even if!) you will let it bother you.
And that’s the key to working harmoniously with a difficult co-worker
The question is: But how?
Choosing Your Reactions
Creating a positive workplace is within your power, and all it takes is a little basic psychology and introspection. First:
- Figure Out What’s Bothering You: For some of us, this is easy. There may be one glaring issue that stands out like laziness or excessive talking…or it may be a more complicated combination of things. Once you know what pushes your buttons, you can focus on how to be able to cope with it
- Ask Yourself Why It Bothers You: This can be tough. The behavior may remind you of something unpleasant, or you may associate it with someone else you don’t really care for. Just remember that it can only disrupt you if you allow it to. (Note: If it’s something that genuinely interferes with the workplace and client interactions, then reporting it to your boss may be warranted)
- Humanize the Co–worker: People have a tendency to forget that their co-workers have a life outside of the office. Remember that the person you have an issue with is human and may be struggling with something that impacts their workplace behavior- could that be what’s making them more snappy or impatient than usual? Could a bad cold be accounting for the annoying sniffles?
- Be Compassionate: Sympathize with difficult co-workers. Put yourself in their shoes and make an effort to be kind to them- even if you may not feel like it. When you dislike someone or their habits, it shows. This can add to the negativity and tension in the office, and create problems where there really weren’t any to start with
- Talk to Them: Start an honest dialogue with co-workers. Sometimes, this is enough to improve your ability to overlook the things that annoy you about them, and then be able to potentially discuss the issue
- Change the Focus from the Problem…to the Solution: Difficult co-workers are usually the product of our own biases and personal preferences. Let go of what doesn’t belong to you and work on changing your mental trajectory to include a more positive view of the people around you. When you learn to accept others’ behaviors and to stop reacting to them, the tension usually disappears
Come See Us!
If nothing seems to be working to improve your difficult work relationships, then come speak with a coaching psychologist at TrueSelf Center in Montreal. We’re here to help you identify what triggers you, and to figure out ways to best address it.
The TrueSelf Psychology team offers a wide variety of services and can work with you so you can deal with others in a more positive way