In the work environment, you either get along with co-workers who are easy to work with, or you stumble upon rude and nasty officemates. The latter is challenging because you cannot get away with them; you see them everyday. And if you do not deal with them, your work relationship is at stake, not to mention the loss of interest in your work in the long run.
Types of Difficult Co-workers
Difficult people may come in varying personalities. They can be nice and amiable but still be difficult. Or, they are literally being difficult because they complain a lot and they pose threats and are a burden to your job function. Identifying these problem colleagues will help you deal with them appropriately.The chatterbox and gossipers have one thing in common: they talk a lot. The chatterbox is a sociable and jovial person, someone whose life is an open book. It is the constant talking and nonstop chatting that causes nuisance. The person can eventually become a distraction to your concentration at work.
The gossipers, on the other hand, talk about everything about everyone in the office. They can even be the cause of petty quarrels and heated arguments because of spreading false information. Gossipers do not choose their victims. One minute, they talk to you about other colleagues; the next thing you know, you are already the subject of the gossip.The complainers are people who find whining a better ritual than being discreet and diplomatic. They complain about anything and just like the chatterbox, they are bothersome. The delegator is someone who either does not want to take the work load or cannot do the entire work assignment. Delegators hand over their other tasks to their officemates without a reason to do it.
Another type of difficult co-worker is the negativist. Much like complainers, they are pessimistic about things. They can even put other colleagues down with their cynical attitude. The bullies are scary and nasty. They are hostile people who can be accusing, intimidating, and confrontational. Bullies are one of the most difficult to handle.The last type of difficult people at work is the know-it-all. These people think they have all the answers for all questions and they believe they are the experts when they are not.
Identifying Different Levels of Difficult Behavior
When dealing with a difficult colleague at work, it is important to assess the level of difficulty of the person’s behavior. Doing so will make it easier for you to use the right approach.The first category is the “difficult” behavior. If a co-worker is just plainly being difficult, a single plan of action will resolve it. The chatterbox and gossipers belong to this classification and so does the delegators. A nice conversation and compromise will soften the problematic attitude.
The second level is the “challenging” behavior wherein the co-worker’s annoying character is chronic. It cannot be ceased over a cup of coffee. Know-it-alls and negativists are challenging people at work. Complainers are challenging, too.“Toxic” behavior is the worst kind of attitude of a difficult co-worker. They are the ‘hidden cancer” in the office. They can be extremely exploitive and threatening. Bullies have this kind of behavior. Even gossipers can be toxic.
How to Deal with Difficult Office Colleagues
The strategies or approach in dealing with difficult people depend on their behaviors. So you have to identify first the gravity of the undesirable character and assess the situation. If you think that the difficult behavior can be resolved with a diplomatic confrontation, make sure to keep the talk private. Do not avoid the issue or the situation. Empathize with your co-worker, too. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand the feeling and the situation they are in. But do not get carried away in your emotion.
There may be various ways in dealing with these co-workers, but two things should be remembered: maintain professionalism and do not stoop down to their level. If the person is being vulgar, do not be verbally and physically offensive as well. Instead, be in the right mind to initiate the solution to such attitude problem and the goal should always be to bring back a harmonious work relationship.