How to Handle a Difficult Co-worker - Bridgegap Careers

How to Handle a Difficult Co-worker


No matter how much you like your job, it doesn’t mean that all your co-workers are a pleasure to work with. In fact, it’s possible that one of your colleagues never fails to push your buttons, and you always dread having to bring up the issue.

Regardless of whether you’re justified in finding someone “difficult” or “unpleasant,” it’s critical to your professional success that you have the ability to work with anyone. If you let someone else’s behaviour get to you, you’re likely to be thrown off your game. At the same time, some of the most brilliant people you might encounter in your career could be very difficult and if you avoid them purely because you don’t get along, you’ll be missing out on opportunities to do great work. What’s more: you could even run the risk of earning the reputation of being difficult yourself.

Keep the following dos and don’ts in mind.

Do examine your own behaviour before blaming the other person. 
In many cases, we form a dislike for people because they remind us of people who have hurt us in the past if this is the case, you need to acknowledge it, and then keep reminding yourself that this colleague is an entirely different person.

Take Action

Your co-worker might be unaware he or she is doing something that irritates you. Phrase what’s upsetting you carefully to avoid being hurtful.  Pull the person aside in private and tell them that you’re really trying to be positive at work and could use their help. This tactic might be subtle enough to invoke a change in their behaviour. While the person might simply be a procrastinator, it’s also possible that he or she has trouble knowing where to start and would really appreciate your help.

Don’t get baited into unprofessional behaviour. 
Arguments rivalry and gossiping about each other are all destructive behaviours, and you should never take part in them. Keep it professional at all times and continue to focus on your work and see if there’s something that you can learn from the difficult person, even if it’s just the fact that you don’t want to act like him.

Do remind yourself of what you stand to gain by working with this person. 
Whether you can learn from your difficult colleague or produce great work together, keep in mind how you can leverage your collaboration to your professional benefit.

Don’t be afraid to ask your manager for assistance. 
In some cases, it’s simply impossible to solve the situation on your own. That’s when it’s time to ask your manager to step in to help diffuse the tension. Just keep in mind to only approach your supervisor when you’ve exhausted all other options.

Working with a difficult colleague is never fun. However, it’s important for your career and reputation that you never let interpersonal problems get in the way of your professionalism. What is necessary is that you develop strategies for working with difficult people.



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