In this week’s post I talk about how to deal with difficult co-workers. Many of us spend more time at the office than we do with our own families. It would be great if we could get along with all of our co-workers, but it doesn’t always work out that way. Some co-workers are bullies, or don’t do their work, or have annoying personal habits. So whether you are having Hypnotherapy at my Harley Street practice or having Online Hypnosis via Skype – these pointers will help you stay calmer at work! Written by Hypnotherapist & NLP Coach, Malminder Gill, published online 12 April 2015 via the Hypnosis in London Blog
It would be great if we always got along well with our co-workers, but some job situations just don’t turn out that way. You may find yourself sitting across the desk from a bully, from someone who won’t do his or her fair share, from someone who won’t stop complaining, or from someone with any of a million annoying personal traits.
When these situations arise, there are some ways for you to calm the troubled waters so that your workplace doesn’t turn into an undeclared combat zone.
1. Communicate directly.
It can be tempting to avoid the person who is giving you grief, but sometimes this only adds to the trouble. Your co-worker is not a mind reader, after all. If you don’t express yourself in a calm, professional manner, your co-worker may never know what is annoying you. Deliver your message as if you expect the other person to receive it well. For instance, you might say, “As we discussed last week, your part of the report will need to be finished this Friday so that the team can stay on target.”
When one of your co-workers is not reliable, it pays to document every interaction. Email is your best friend because it lets you keep a record of what you communicated to your co-worker and the response you received. If your co-worker neglects his or her job or treats you with extreme disrespect, the documentation will speak for itself so your boss won’t have to sort out a he-said/she-said struggle.
3. Avoid unnecessary interactions.
By all means, communicate clearly with your co-worker about business-related matters, but don’t feel like you have to engage in casual conversation about your plans for the weekend or about the hometown sports team’s win/loss record. You can be pleasant without being chatty.
4. Take responsibility for your part of the problem.
Conflict is rarely the fault of just one person. Even if it’s hard to acknowledge it, you too may be playing a part in the difficulty between you and your co-worker. Take a long, hard look at your own actions and reactions and be prepared to adjust your behavior accordingly. For instance, you may decide to grin and suck it up when your co-worker starts chewing on his apple too loudly, or you may need to apologize for something you said or did.
5. Steer clear of gossip.
When you’re not fond of someone, it’s easy to get into the habit of complaining about that person to others – to gossiping about him or her, in other words. Gossiping, however, will only increase the animosity between the two of you. It gives your troublesome co-worker the green light to gossip as well. It can also force your other co-workers to take sides in the problem. If one of your other office mates tries to get you to comment on the issues between you and your problem co-worker, just say that you prefer not to discuss it and firmly change the subject.
6. Teach your co-worker how to treat you.
Your obnoxious co-worker may honestly have no idea that he or she is being rude or annoying. Or if your co-worker is a bully, he or she may be used to other people letting him or her get away with outrageous behavior. Don’t be shy about speaking up to say things like, “Please don’t raise your voice when you speak to me. I can hear you perfectly well when you talk in a normal tone” or “Don’t call me names. You may address me as Karen or as Ms. Smith.”
7. Go up the food chain – as a last resort.
Your boss doesn’t need to be troubled with every squabble between employees, but there are times when management does need to know about a conflict. This is true, for instance, if sexual harassment or bullying is taking place. It is also true if things between you and your co-worker have gotten so bad that work isn’t getting done and clients are being neglected. If you do have to go to your supervisor, the documentation you’ve been keeping will come in handy.
Having conflict with a co-worker certainly doesn’t make for a pleasant job environment, but these seven tips should help you relieve the stress and calm the situation. Who knows? Properly handled, your worst enemy today could end up being your staunchest ally tomorrow.
Malminder is a Harley Street Hypnotherapist and NLP Coach helping many people to manage difficult relationships, anxieties at work, low confidence at work and anger. Malminder offers online hypnosis via Skype for national and international clients.
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