Feb 9, 2015
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With the explosive growth of technology over the last few decades, human productivity has increased substantially. It has almost become a norm in most workplaces for people to work at maximum intensity for long periods of time. These days shorter deadlines go hand in hand with heavier workloads. High performance jobs such as these eventually break people down. When you also take into account the presence of unpleasant coworkers, the stresses get even worse.
Difficult coworkers – who are they?
Over the years, one interacts and works with many different kinds of people. A certain amount of friction is likely to develop in such close quarters. Whether it’s a boss who loves to micromanage every little detail, an employee who is a serial slacker, or even just someone who loves to gossip, they all have their own special ways of disrupting your mental peace. The workplace is supposed to be an entirely professional environment, a rational domain. Yet, a lot of the time interpersonal relationships deteriorate to a point where it becomes impossible to get work done.
It’s natural to expect other people to behave professionally in a professional environment. But the reality is different. As always, there are the stereotypes: the pretentious know-it-alls, the ones that can’t stop gossiping, the notorious office bully, the keyboard warrior, the person who loves creeping on your private space by invading your cubicle, and the one who always wants to have the last word. Dealing with each of them requires different approaches.
How do you deal with them?
As a general rule, it is best to recognize, as early as possible, when a co-worker’s behaviour is getting out of hand. Most of the time people are likely to let minor quirks and irritations pass, but the second they realise things have gone overboard they choose a mode of inaction hoping things will blow over. Sometimes it works, but expecting ‘toxic’ co-workers to get fired or relocated is perhaps asking for too much. It is best to approach the person in question and try to resolve the issue privately, before things escalate. It helps both parties understand the other’s point of view and minimizes the risk of further drama. If peace cannot be achieved via that method, notify the higher authorities to resolve the issue quickly. Just remember, a person who complains too often is going to be labelled as whiny in the workplace, and might end up being the source of other problems.
How successful people deal with these kinds of situations?
Another important fact is that these confrontations give every individual a chance to grow professionally. Frustrating as it may be, in certain scenarios it is beneficial to take a step back from one’s professional opinion on a certain subject and understand the opposition’s perspective. In other scenarios, where the issue is entirely personal, it is crucial for one to remain calm and disciplined. Any sort of outburst will surely be regretted later. No matter how bad things get, one must never stoop down to their level.
It is possible to work under extreme stress [some people revel in it], but only for short periods of time. One tends to eventually snap and break. It is inhuman for one to work too long in a high-pressure environment. In addition, being stuck in a space where one doesn’t feel comfortable and safe can also be ruinous to one’s health. Dealing with coworkers is an important skill to acquire. A lot of successful people have skill, but also know how to get along with others, and this ensures their success as they’re allowed to express their talent in a friendlier, more supportive workplace.
So, here are 4 mantras to handle difficult co-workers
Always smile it away! We would love to hear your thoughts on how you deal with difficult co-workers.
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