7 Tips for Dealing with a Difficult Coworker


Nowadays a great number of jobs require people to cooperate with others. I have met different people on my way. The most annoying thing is that you don’t always get a choice about whether to spend time with that person or not. It is essential to have harmonious and cooperative work environment to be able to reach productivity. Productivity goes up if people are motivated, engaged and happy. Different conflicts or tensions in the workplace can have an adverse effect on motivation and productivity. Sometimes difficult coworkers seem to be your life burden, but it’s not the reason to panic. Try to follow these tips on how to cope with a difficult coworker and you will have a chance to handle the situation in a short period of time.

1. Don’t focus on negativity

If you are surrounded by difficult coworkers, you shouldn’t focus on their negativity. I think it is necessary to set boundaries and veer away unpleasant talks and conflict situations which make you absorb the bad energy of your coworkers. Don’t waste your valuable time and nerves on negativity, if you don’t want to become a negative and difficult person. However, don’t let others get you down. Listen to your intuition and if you feel uncomfortable about something, try to address it. You should show them that you know that you are someone worth treating with respect.

2. Be kind

Leo Buscaglia once said, “Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, smile, a kind of word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”Try to be pleasant and treat your difficult coworker with respect. Moreover, if you have a good sense of humor, you will be loved and respected by your colleagues. This tip really works and reduces tension inside your work team.

More: 8 Common Office Problems and How to Cope with Them

3. Keep calm

Never hate your enemies, it affects your judgment. This quote is taken from the film “The Godfather,” which is one of my favorite films. By all means, you should keep calm and avoid actions and emotions which you might regret later. As a matter of fact, when you get into a tough spot, keep your voice at a normal volume and pitch it slightly lower than usual. If you cannot keep your temper, you should try to use some breathing practices which will help your nervous system be strong enough to resist a stress.

4. Listen

I understand that it’s very difficult, but you should listen and hear your coworkers when they talk to you. Let your colleague explain their point of view. Maybe these small talks will help you find the solution of the issue. Though, long and tiresome venting of your workmate’s thoughts can make you feel tired and exhausted. I think 5 minutes a day will be enough. Try to be friendly and show attention to other colleagues as well. It will help you earn respect inside your team.

5. Confront

If the situation doesn’t change for better, you should use more effective ways of solving interpersonal issues. You don’t have to fight in no circumstances! Just have a private and frank discussion with them to reduce the tension. Try to be polite and show the best qualities of your character. Try to understand the position of your workmate. No one is perfect and we all have upset others inadvertently one time or another, so give your workmate a chance to know what you find difficult and to set it straight.

6. Ignore

The best way to win the battle is to avoid it and find a compromise. Unfortunately, there are situations where compromise is just not possible. The best civilized way out is to ignore them. Put some distance between you and the person who is driving you crazy. Mind your business and focus on your direct responsibilities. It will help you enjoy the day and work with a smile on your face.

More: 9 Types of People You May Work With

7. Ask your manager for help

This is the extra way to solve this annoying problem. If your coworker’s behavior is interfering with your ability to do your job, you should take appropriate measures. Don’t suffer in silence. Ask your manager or a human resources representative for help. Higher authorities usually try to solve such issues, because they are interested in productive work of the company.

I hope these tips on how to deal with difficult workmates will help you in a certain way. There are many life situations when nothing depends on you, but you should have control over your feelings and behavior towards difficult people. Have you ever faced such a difficulty? How do you deal with difficult coworkers?