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How to Deal with a Difficult Co-Worker

November 26, 2019

Have you been there before?  Or maybe you are experiencing the situation now.  You have one person in the office who is a challenge to work with.  Maybe they are controlling, maybe they are a bully, or maybe they are always negative.  What do you do?  How do you handle it?

First, you need to ask yourself the following questions. What kind of interactions do you have with this person?  Is there a way that you can limit your interaction with them?  If you can’t, and you unfortunately must deal with them daily (for example if they work in your group), you need to address the issue.  If not addressed, the situation and the effect it has on you, may spiral out of control.  Therefore, the key is addressing the situation early. 

The next step is to objectively assess the situation.  Are you sure that the other person is really the problem and that you're not overreacting? Have you always experienced difficulty with the same type of person or actions?  Are there others in the office who feel like this about that person as well? 

Once you know that the other person is the problem, you need to speak with the individual directly.  When you confront them, do so in private.  Be pleasant and agreeable as you talk with them and let them know of how their actions are affecting you. They may not be aware of the impact that their words or actions have on you. They may be learning about their impact on you for the first time.

During the discussion, attempt to reach an agreement about positive and supportive actions going forward.

If the issue persists, you will need to escalate the situation.

When you speak with your boss, take notes and address the issue itself – let your boss know how this other person and their behaviour is affecting your productivity and work. Tell your boss exactly what the difficult person does. You need to prepare to talk to your boss. Make a plan to address the issues.  A good boss and supervisor should be able to mediate the situation. 

If all else fails, don’t fret. There is always a chance you may be able to switch groups or departments, to find a more suitable working relationship with others.   

Thanks for reading!  I hope this helped!  If you have any questions about this or any other job searching or career topics, be sure to contact us.

Happy Job Hunting and Good Luck!

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