How to handle challenging coworkers

Use these strategies to deal with challenging coworkers.
Use these strategies to deal with challenging coworkers.
If trying to pay the bills has you working in a job you don’t particularly enjoy, chances are you’re dealing with some challenging coworkers. Whether your boss is prone to being passive aggressive or your fellow employees tend to gossip, working with people who drive you crazy can make it difficult to get up the motivation to go to work – especially while you’re still in school. Instead of going slowly insane, follow this advice to handle challenging coworkers:

1. Try to ignore it

If people are consistently rude or disrespectful to you and your fellow coworkers, the best thing you can do is try to ignore them. Acknowledging their bad behavior by showing that you are upset will just egg them on. Instead, continue to do your job to the best of your abilities – don’t let negative comments undermine your confidence! Work hard, get promoted, and ignore the bullies – they’re probably just insecure.

2. Don’t put up with unprofessional behavior

However, if the unprofessional behavior does get out of hand and turns into harassment, you should absolutely report it to your superiors. There is no need to tolerate a fellow employee who makes you dread coming to work. If you notice that a coworker is just being disrespectful to you and no one else, try taking him or her out to lunch or coffee and having a clear and honest conversation about what’s bothering you. You may just be able to nip their bad behavior in the bud.

3. Evaluate your relationships

If you find that coworkers are consistently disrespectful, think critically about your relationships with them and see if there is a common pattern developing. Do you find that you are always clashing over the best way to accomplish a task? Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand that they are trying to reach the same goals. Remember: Just because you have a poor relationship with a challenging coworker doesn’t mean things need to stay that way. Relationships are fluid, and if you are more understanding, your work environment will be more positive.

4. Be courteous

Don’t stoop to the level of rude coworkers. Instead, demonstrate common courtesy by smiling and greeting them each day. It’s hard to fight with someone who won’t fight you back! Let the past go and show a genuine appreciation for what they do, and you will likely get respect in return.

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