How to work with difficult colleagues |

How to work with difficult colleagues

Between Joanne, the service blabbermouth, and Mario, the born manipulator, you can’t take any more. Coming to the office has become a real nightmare, to the point that you are considering changing jobs. This would not necessarily be a good idea, since these types are found in every organization. You might stumble into worse cases, so take hold of your courage in both hands, and see instead how to manage these delicate situations and deal with difficult colleagues.


Irritants becoming unbearable
Certain character traits, a bit more marked in some than in others, can quickly end up annoying you and create palpable tension, which risks becoming detrimental to the quality of professional relationships and your work. To the colleague who knows everything about everything before everyone, remember to prepare your files and arguments well in order to demonstrate, with supporting evidence, that he is not the only one that knows everything. To your little office neighbour who arrives without warning and keeps talking for hours and hours, try to make your lair inhospitable (files on the chair) and politely take your leave (make the excuse of an urgent call, avoiding monopolizing the time). What about the eternal grump, complainer, pessimist? By asking him why he behaves this way, he may become aware of his attitude and recover. Finally, if you have the extreme misfortune to work with the boss’s good-for-nothing son, and this annoys you at the highest level, rather try to create some interaction on a point that you have in common (travel, sports, music, etc.) to loosen the atmosphere.


Behaviours seeking deliberately to harm  
In your department, you can also have cases that are much more “weighty”, people who seek to destabilize you. Here, the situation is much more serious. To begin with, lower the tension. What recourse do you have? Your sense of humour (imagine your persecutor in an unflattering position – I’ll leave it to your imagination!) and by creating a soothing workspace (lighting, music, essential oils, etc.). Secondly, don’t let the situation deteriorate to the point that it very quickly becomes unmanageable. Does your colleague Bob criticize your work? Ask him straight in the eyes what he would do in your place. Use precise words that don’t leave any place for ambiguity. Does Mary spend her time in the manager’s office degrading your work or taking the benefit for your ideas and accomplishments? Go and see him also, while taking a professional attitude, without enmity, to let him know how your projects are getting on, the difficulties encountered, solutions implemented… Can you no longer take your manipulating neighbour who uses emotional blackmail to make you give in? Resist and especially assert yourself by taking the high road, staying loyal to your values and the positions you take. Once he has his back to the wall he will change his tune.

Since workplace relationships and quality of work are related, it is essential not to allow yourself to be overcome by the intolerable behaviour of an insecure colleague. You have the solution in your hands: lower the tension and assert yourself with professionalism. And then, put it into perspective by remembering that in the end you only spend 12% of your life at work… compared to 40% for your great-grandparents.


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