You can’t always pick the people you work with, just like you can’t pick your family members. But, you can learn what to do with difficult co-workers without losing your sanity!
How to Handle Difficult Employees first appeared on Keriann Worley – The Pursuit of Life. Keriann is a proud IBA member, and we appreciate her experience and suggestions about a common problem in the workplace, difficult coworkers. – Tina
You can’t always pick the people you work with, just like you can’t pick your family members. That’s why it is critical you know how to navigate the workplace and figure out how to handle difficult co-workers.
It happens to everyone, you know the scenario: you go to work every day and enjoy 99% of the people around you but you come across that one person that rubs you the wrong way, and you can’t seem to get along with them.
It’s entirely possible you have every reason not to like this employee. For the sake of this article, let’s call this difficult employee “Suzy.” Typically, it’s a personality conflict that you make every effort to resolve or at least manage. This might not even be your problem, but Suzy is difficult, unreasonable, and rude.
Even if you continue to be professional and handle Suzy in a skilled manner, your courtesy is not being reciprocated. You may be thinking of quitting your job because you just can’t deal with Suzy any longer. If that is the case, remember there is a Suzy everywhere you go.
My First Difficult Co-Worker was My Boss!
Throughout my entire career, I’ve had a Suzy in each place I have worked. I recall when I was fairly new to the workforce, and I came in contact with my first Suzy. Suzy happened to be my direct boss. She was new to the organization and a very unpleasant person to work with.
Every day I would go to work ready for her attitude. Instead of figuring out a way to work with her, I allowed her approach to affect me. I didn’t say anything to her or to anyone else, but I did allow her cunning behavior get the best of me. Even though I was identified as “High Potential” and climbing the corporate ladder, once Suzy was hired I was miserable.
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At the time, I decided I had no other choice but to leave because I felt I could no longer work with this person. I left a job that I loved, a corporate setting that had all the bells and whistles, and a short commute to work. I left because of just one person! It turned out Suzy was terminated from her position within 6 months after I resigned. I look back on that decision and wonder… “What If?”
Don’t Run from Difficult Co-Workers
That was definitely a pivotal point in my career and chances are, if I would have stayed, I certainly wouldn’t be where I am today. I am incredibly thankful for that move, but I did learn.
You will come face to face with many difficult co-workers over the course of your career. And, you can’t run every time you work with someone that you don’t like. Finally, you need to figure out how to handle this person in a professional manner.
You Can Control Your Reaction
You can’t control the way they handle themselves, but you can control how you react to their behavior. Remember, you can always speak with your supervisor about the situation. If your supervisor happens to be the case in point, like my scenario, contact your HR representative.
At the very least, you need to walk through the situation with someone and get some advice before you resign. Companies don’t want to lose good people and certainly not over a personality conflict.
If you are a supervisor and notice one of your employees being bullish in the workplace and being unprofessional, it is your responsibility to react. As a manager, you create the environment. If you ignore or don’t address the nasty behavior, it will only get worse. That is a promise!
- Be part of the solution and not the problem.
- Be respectful and considerate with your co-workers.
- It’s not if, but when, you come in contact with difficult co-workers find a way to control the situation so you don’t make any rash decisions and it doesn’t impact your productivity and mood.
- The majority of us spend a tremendous amount of time at work. Therefore we all have a responsibility to keep a harmonious environment.
Keriann Worley is a proud mom of three highly energized daughters, and she has been married to her supportive husband for over 17 years.
Keriann has spent her entire 22-year career honing her skills in the corporate environment. She is a Strategist and Leadership enthusiast who enjoys championing people and teams to achieve stretch goals personally and professionally.
You can find Keriann’s blog at Keriann Worley – The Pursuit of Life.