How to deal with problematic coworkers

The best jobs are the ones that have a positive dynamic with co-workers. Being around people you like, respect or admire makes a huge difference in your day-to-day life. Such a positive environment increases productivity and makes staff members more loyal to their employers. But what happens when you find yourself in a less harmonious dynamic with co-workers?

1. Be direct

There’s nothing wrong with approaching a co-worker who is getting on your nerves and asking what’s going on. It may be a simple misunderstanding. By approaching and politely conversing, the relationship has the potential to improve substantially.

2. Be empathetic

Put yourself in your colleagues’ shoes. Are they facing personal problems that put them in a bad mood? Are they under tight deadlines and under a lot of stress? By trying to understand each other, you can gain insight into their behaviors and better manage their peculiarities.

3. Don’t take it personally

It may be hard not to, but that’s really important in managing the relationship. Remember that the person’s bad behavior existed before they were your co-worker and will probably continue when you’re no longer there. It’s just not about you.

4. Stay one step ahead

Don’t get discouraged: if you let negativity get to you, you run the risk of compromising your productivity and ability to make decisions. Do everything you can to prevent negative co-workers from getting to you.

5. Talk to HR

If after trying to talk directly with your co-worker the situation did not improve, you can turn to human resources. You don’t need to file a formal complaint. These professionals are trained to deal with employee conflicts, and they have tools and advice to improve or manage the relationship.

6. Is it worth it?

Some situations can be adjusted and managed. Others are so toxic that they will prevent you from thriving. You must know the time to move on. There is no shame in doing what is necessary for yourself. Not just for your career, but for your peace of mind and well-being.

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