Haven’t we all felt that way at some time or another? Below are five tips on how to improve or deal with that testy co-worker.
Tip 1: Start with you.
Take stock of the situation. Are you adding to the friction and drama? Now be truthful. We can add to a negative situation when we ignore easy-to-resolve matters, react in a combative manner or act as an enabler.
Tip 2: Blow for blow is a bad idea.
We are all tempted to retaliate in kind – but don’t. If your co-worker is truly a person who loves conflict, they will just thrive on it. It makes them feel powerful.
Instead, handle it with kindness and civility. “I see you’re having a bad day. Tell me exactly what the problem is or how I can help…” usually works for me. They are usually putty in your hands after that.
Tip 3: Sometimes, it’s really not you.
Believe it or not, sometimes it’s not about you. It’s actually trouble at home, sickness they’re dealing with or just being plain old overworked. They may not have the skills to handle their stress, and subsequently, take it out on the nearest person – that being you.
If you learn what the real problem is, why not try to make their load lighter by helping out with their workload where you can. If you personally cannot help, graft in others for assistance if you’re in the position to delegate.
Tip 4: Intervention
You cannot please everybody, and some people are just not going to like you. But you have to work with them, right? Try getting a third party involved; someone who will be completely unbiased. This means that you will have to answer tough questions. Remember, the goal is to find what the problem is and to define a workable solution.
Tip 5: Hit the Door
After you’ve tried everything and failed, it might be your only recourse to decide to leave. If you are the boss, you may decide to let the disruptive person go. If this difficult person’s behavior is affecting productivity of others, this is a definite reason for a firing. Ignoring bad behavior doesn’t necessarily make it go away. It’s very important to maintain control of your happiness, your unit or your company by civil and/or legal means.