Dealing With A Difficult Coworker
During the course of professional life, one often comes across coworkers who are not so easy to get along with. Some of them can be avoided easily, yet others make it impossible for you to simply ignore them and continue your work. Most of us choose to ignore a difficult employee, even if he is directly interfering with our work, rather than confronting him. While this might be the easier solution, having a difficult coworker affects your work productivity tremendously and makes it hard for you to perform at your maximum potential in the long run.
Is he really being difficult?
The most important thing that you have to figure out is whether the coworkers is actually being difficult on purpose or is it just your perception. It might be that you are having problems with a coworker just because the two of you have different personality types that clash too often. There are a lot of people who just fail to get along well as they have very different personalities. It does not mean that any one of them is being difficult rather the problem is that both of them are failing to find a common ground. If this is what is causing trouble between you and a colleague then it can be easily resolved. The best way is to talk it out with the coworker. Ask him which of your habits are causing him inconvenience and listen to him patiently, as there is no point in being offended by what he has to say. Try to remain objective and figure out what you can do to resolve the situation. Make sure that you also communicate your problems to the coworker, but do it tactfully. It should not appear that you are criticizing the colleague just to spite him. Vocalize your concerns in a friendly and amiable manner so that the other person reacts positively as well.
However, if you are sure that there is nothing untoward in your attitude and the coworker is being difficult on purpose, then you have to take some steps to set the situation right.
How to deal with a difficult coworker?
There are many ways to deal with a difficult coworker without making a big deal and creating a bad impression on the boss.
Confront or avoid?
The first thing you have to decide when dealing with a coworker is how you want to go about it. Many people choose to avoid conflict and try to mind their own business as much as possible so that they can avoid any sort of confrontation. This approach may do the trick for a short time, but sooner or later you will have to deal with a difficult coworker who makes it impossible for you to avoid him. In such a case there are several options for you regarding how to successfully deal with a troublesome coworker.
Avoid petty arguments
The most important thing that you have to keep in mind is that whatever the situation might be; try to avoid getting into petty arguments with a difficult colleague. Arguments seldom solve anything and whenever you argue with a person who is bent on being difficult, the end result is bound to be frustrating for you. You will end up gaining nothing and will have given the other person the satisfaction of an argument. It is likely that by avoiding getting into petty arguments you will be able to make the difficult coworker follow your example.
Keep an open mind
You should keep an open mind when dealing with a difficult coworker, as there is a chance that you are failing to understand his point of view and that is what is causing the trouble. If you have particular trouble while communicating with a specific colleague, try bringing in a third party to make sure that you do no misinterpret anything that is said by him or you.
Imagine yourself in his shoes
Before you take any major step that could alter the fate of the fellow employee, imagine yourself in his shoes at least once. There might be some personal problems that are leading the coworker to behave in a difficult manner. Try to be reasonable and do not take any action that might end up permanently damaging his career.
Keep it to yourself
If you are having trouble with a coworker it is best to keep it to yourself. If you whine about it to any of your other colleagues, there is a high probability that it will be circulated throughout the office and sooner or later the person you are having trouble with will hear what you have said about him.
Do not retaliate
If a difficult coworker is badmouthing you, do not retaliate under any circumstances. This will get you involved in petty politics and lead the managers to believe that you are unprofessional who cannot deal with a little criticism. So keep in mind, whatever your colleagues might be saying about you must keep your cool at all times.
Talk to the boss
After you have tried everything else, talk to your boss about the difficult coworker as a last resort. Make sure that it does not appear as if you are making baseless accusations or just whining about petty things. Articulate the things that are creating difficulties for you and suggest how they can be minimized. Do not badmouth your colleague as it will lead the boss to conclude that you have some personal vendetta against the coworker. Never under any circumstances suggest to the boss that he should lay off the coworker as it can be the worst thing that you do not only for the colleague but also for yourself. By doing so, you will end up losing respectability in the eyes of the boss.
Having a healthy and positive attitude at work isessentialif you wish to be productive and give the maximum possible output. If you have a colleague who disrupts the smooth flow of work and is creatingunnecessary problems for you, then it is best that you tackle the problem rather than letting your work suffer. however, if the difficult coworker is not interfering with your work then it is best to simply avoid and ignore him as much as possible and focus all your energies at work.