How to Deal with Difficult Coworkers

Try these tips to help you get along at work.

At some point, you’ve probably had to deal with a difficult coworker—maybe someone who is overly negative, nosy, or overconfident. While it’s impossible to completely avoid these employees, there are things you can do to help you cope. If you’re working with someone who thinks he knows everything, what should you do? Or what if you share an office with someone who is always complaining?


How to Deal with a Know-It-All

Working with someone who has all the answers can be frustrating. These employees typically are not good listeners and they don’t always take input from others. Before you do or say anything, try to empathize with the person. There’s probably a reason they are acting how they are. Attempt to understand their position. Keep in mind that the person earned the job for a reason; try to find what their strengths are, and focus on them. If you have to work on projects together, make sure you know your facts ahead of time so you can have an educated discussion.


Working with a Negative Person

Have you ever had to work with someone who always seems irritable, and never has anything positive to say? It can be draining! A simple technique you could try is modeling the behavior you like. So, if the person is continually complaining around you, make it a habit to emphasize positive things. You may be able to help the other person see the silver linings. Again, if you’re struggling with a coworker, try to be understanding. Think of the reasons for their behavior; it might help you have more tolerance.


Coping with a Workplace Gossip

You may work with someone who is continually asking personal questions, and sharing too much information. What should you do? If the conversations are harmless, the easiest thing might be to just endure it. If the person is talking endlessly, and you struggle to get your work done, try politely letting them know that you’d love to hear their story, but that you have a task to finish first. Earphones are also a great signal to others to not interrupt. When the gossip seems mean, try changing the conversation or politely letting them know that you aren’t interested. If it continues, seek advice from your HR Department.


Remember, it’s okay if you don’t want to be friends with everyone you work with. The important thing is that you focus on the things you enjoy about your job, and stay a team player at work.

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