5 Ways to Deal with a Difficult Co-Worker

We’ve all been there; the co-worker who takes credit for your ideas, the colleague who criticizes you, a co-worker that makes work unpleasant. Whether it be stress-related or an everyday occurrence with some people, knowing how to manage both your temper and the situation is essential in the workplace. Losing your cool on a co-worker that frustrates you or responding to their negativity won’t solve the problem. Here are a few tips that can help:

1) Identify the issue
Is the issue with the co-worker  a combination of you and them, or is the issue solely their responsibility? If the co-worker is ‘toxic’ in any way, learn to recognize who they are, what situations set off their unwanted behavior and in what ways you can avoid taking the problem further.

2) Be the bigger person
Rising above a problematic situation is hard to do, but imperative at work. As frustrating as a situation and co-worker may be, keep your emotions and actions in check. You don’t want to be the person at work that is known for freaking out or getting upset, so try and rise above issues with co-workers and be the bigger person.

3) Be prepared
Do problems always arise when you work on projects? When you’re in meetings with the co-worker? Recognize the situations in which problems arise and be mentally prepared for the issues. Preparing yourself for these situations can prevent you from an outburst or acting on your emotions. You can’t control the co-worker, but you can control yourself and your ability to handle the situation.

4) Address the situation
Although it may be uncomfortable, if issues persist long enough that the quality or productivity of your work is affected, you have to address the problem. Approaching them outside of the conflict or problem when there isn’t emotion involved will most likely get the best result. Speak calmly and express how you feel and how their behavior at work is interfering with yours.

5) Involve a third party
If 1-4 have continuously failed and problems with your co-worker still exist, speak to your manager about it. Perhaps you can be transferred to another team, a different area of the building or your manager can help address the issue.

Learning to handle difficult workplace situations such as a troublesome co-worker can teach you a lot about yourself and what environments you work best in. If a co-worker is interfering with your ability to work well, follow these steps to help resolve the issues.

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