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Dealing with Difficult Colleagues

By: Emma Jones - Updated: 26 Aug 2014 | comments*Discuss
 
Dealing With Difficult Colleagues

The people that you have to spend every day with can make a big difference to how much you enjoy your job. If you get stuck with a difficult colleague then it can affect your whole working attitude and increase your stress levels. Your first instinct may be to just try and ignore the colleague but this simply won’t be possible in the long run. It is much better to try and sort the difficulties out so you can move on and be happy.

Find Common Ground

It is just not possible to be everybody’s best friend and you are bound to come up against some personality clashes. However, at the same time, you can usually find something in common with almost everyone. Whether it is your family situation, hobbies or simply the weather, try and find that common tie with your difficult colleague. Doing this will help create a more relaxed relationship and hopefully break some of the tension between you.

Avoid Working With Them

If you haven’t been able to form any kind of useful relationship with your colleague then try to avoid working closely with them. If you find them difficult then it is likely that they can sense the tension and would probably prefer not to work with you either.

Celebrate the Differences

‘Just because someone isn’t walking the same path as you, doesn’t mean they’re going the wrong way.’ Sometimes people have very different outlooks on how something should be done, but they may both have valid points. Having differing ideas can actually make you work better as a team as you complement each other. If possible, try and see how your colleague’s difficult ways could work as an asset.

Talk to Them

If you have tried to be nice, tried avoiding them and made an attempt to see how they could be an asset for you and you still can’t stand them, you need to talk to them. It’s probably the last thing that you want to do but sometimes clearing the air is the beginning of a much better relationship. Take them aside so you don’t embarrass them in front of colleagues and be honest about your concerns. Make sure you don’t put all the blame on then and instead concentrate on what you can both do to resolve the situation.

Talk to Your Boss

Once you have tried all of these steps, if nothing is working then you may have to resort to talking to your boss about the situation. Make sure you have firm examples of when your colleague has been difficult and offer practical solutions about how you could make the relationship better.

There is nothing that will make you enjoy work less than having difficult colleagues. Try your best to find common ground with them and see the benefits of your differences. If that doesn’t work then talk to them about your concerns and how you can work together to make the relationship better. If all else fails, approach your boss but make sure you have firm examples and practical solutions.

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I ve started work at a new place, I wasn't shown fully what to do right from the start, so much is expected to be done in six hours and sometimes I get the impression that they don't seem to think that we all finish on the hour, and we only get a ten minute break! It's like they're never happy unless they have something to complain about, they say you should leave when your shift is finished but if you do and not everything gets done they complain about it so you stay and finish it then they say you know you don't get paid!
Lisel - 26-Aug-14 @ 5:23 PM
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