In a perfect world, we’d get along with everyone we ever work with. Unfortunately, challenging co-workers are a fact of life. There will be people in your professional life whose personalities clash with yours, people who actively sabotage you, and you’ll have the occasional co-worker you just don’t like. Working effectively with challenging co-workers isn’t easy, but it can be done if you take the right approach.
Don’t Take the Situation Personally
It is important to remember that it is impossible to get along with everyone all the time, and the best advice you can give yourself is to not take these situations personally. Instead of feeling wounded by a challenging co-worker, rise above the personal and focus solely on work. Take emotions and feelings out of it, and keep your eyes on achieving your work-related goals.
You Have the Right to Remain Silent
It is impossible to get into an argument with someone who doesn’t engage. If you sense a co-worker is baiting you into an argument, or if you feel yourself starting to lose your cool, simply say nothing rather than engage. Or reply only by addressing the work-related issue at hand. If you are polite and resist the urge to get down in the muck, your co-worker will have no choice but to let the argument go and move on.
Identify Your Own Shortcomings
We often clash the most with people who exhibit traits we don’t like within ourselves. If you are dealing with a difficult co-worker, sit down and reflect on the reasons why you’re having trouble getting along. Perhaps they procrastinate and you procrastinate as well. Maybe they blame others for their mistakes and you notice you do that sometimes, too. If your own shortcomings are clouding your feelings about a co-worker, start working on improving that trait so you can overcome your issue with the other person.
Document, Document, Document
If you are dealing with a challenging co-worker who you think might be actively sabotaging you, it is critical to document as much as possible. Do not verbally ask the co-worker for documents or assignments, request them via email and copy your boss on all communications. If the co-worker does not get you information, data or documents you need on time, send them an email letting them know the date has passed and ask when they will be getting them done. Again, copy your boss. A paper trail will be your best line of defense if your colleague tries to make you look bad to your supervisor.
Consider Moving On
Not only can challenging co-workers interfere with your ability to do your job, they can also negatively impact your mental health. If you find a difficult person is making your work life unbearable, it might be time to move on to a healthier environment.
If you are an engineer in the Southeast region seeking new opportunities, contact the recruiting experts at Selectek today. We can match you with an opportunity in an environment where you will thrive.