You are thrust into a situation where you have to work with someone who either has a negative attitude towards their job, towards their employer, towards you or all three. So, what can you do to better the situation?
The worst case scenario is leaving the job due to the actions of a single person. Remember, you got the job for a reason and it is your career, not the other individualâs future, which is at stake here.
What Are the Issues with a Co-Worker?
In dealing with a difficult co-worker, take some time to run these items through your head:
- Is the individual causing problems for you specifically or other staff too that is impacting your ability to do your job?
- Has the co-worker been warned by management about their behavior before?
- Have you had one-on-one discussions with the co-worker about their actions and how they are impacting you and others in the office?
- What is the biggest thing you would like to change about a problem co-worker?
In cases where a difficult co-workerâs actions are directly impacting you and your ability to successfully do your job, it is important that you not just let things go. Remember, your professional success is on the line here, so donât let someone else take you down with them.
Having worked for 22 years now in different fields, Iâve worked with some fantastic people, some okay people and some real jerks for lack of a better term.
In one situation, I had only been on the job at a company for a few months when a co-worker, who later was promoted to the head of the department I was in, became an issue.
As fate would have it, this individual loved to micromanage people, always point out the bad instead of the good in a personâs work, and always seemed to just want to make your eight hours a day on the job as unpleasant as possible.
After a few weeks of dealing with this situation, I went to the owner of the company to discuss the matter, even offering to resign. He stopped short of accepting my resignation and asked that I give him a few days to investigate the matter. After doing just that, my supervisor became a former employee of the company.
As it turns out, other individuals also had expressed concerns about working with this person, pointing out that they too sensed she was not only not good material for a supervisory position, but that she was creating an environment for an ineffective department.
Standing Up for Yourself on the Job
What I learned from this situation was that not only is everyone replaceable, but that you have to stand up for yourself not only outside the office, but inside too.
Even when I have worked over the years with people I didnât necessarily like, I respected the fact that we were all brought together to do a job for our employer. I told myself that I did not have to be friends with these people outside the office, just do enough to make for a productive work environment.
Do I think bad co-workers can be changed?
Honestly, it depends on the environment youâre working in, what type of setting management has in place, and whether or not trying to change the individual is worth your time.
Most importantly, stand your ground at work if youâre dealing with a bad co-worker. While not putting your own job in jeopardy, work with management if necessary and keep them in the loop of any incidents that involve you and a bad co-worker.
In the event the difficult co-worker is the companyâs owner, you might want to start polishing up that resume.
I can say Iâve been lucky to work under some good owners over time, something that you definitely should not take for granted.
As for all the co-workers Iâve had in four jobs over 22 years, do you have a few hours?
So, how have you handled dealing with problem co-workers?
Photo credit: blogs.villagevoice.com
Dave Thomas, who covers among other subjectsâ corporate credit cards and business phone service, writes extensively for business.com an online resource destination for businesses of all sizes to research, find, and compare the products and services they need to run their businesses.