How to Overcome Difficult Co-Workers


Every job has its share of difficult co-workers.  But that doesn’t mean your experience has to be unenjoyable or that you cannot get along with people who see things differently than you.  The best way to deal with difficult co-workers is to prepare before heading to work, rather than reacting or breaking down in the heat of the moment.  The money editors at Cotton Candy Magazine® have a few strategies to help you succeed when addressing difficult co-workers, and you can even grow in the process.

Control Your Temper

Keep your anger in check.  When you lose your temper, your emotions control you and the situation.  It’s hard to gain the respect of your co-workers when you have uncontrolled emotions.  If you remain in control of your emotions, you will garner the respect of those around and sharpen your ability to respond in a calm manner.

Take a Time Out

This is not just a ‘90s discipline strategy for your kids.  Taking a time out can work for you as well.  Relax, and give yourself a few minutes to calm down.  Do not storm off, but rather when the time is right, take a break and let emotions subside. It is easy to overreact. So, just step away for a few moments until you feel composed.  Once you are calm, you are better equipped to deal with the conflict in a positive way.

Give the Benefit of the Doubt

Learn to think the best of others.  Many times, our emotions will lead us to think cynically about co-workers who have offended us in the past.  But give everyone the opportunity to make mistakes or simply have an off day. At times, a combative attitude from a co-worker is steaming from personal problems that you may not be aware of.  The best thing to do may be to allow your co-workers to have some space and to give them compassion.

Do Not Take It Personally

Choose to let some things slide.  You simply do not have to react to all comments that offend you.  Choosing to let go of the mistakes or misunderstandings of your co-workers will promote an environment of understanding and learning.

See Both Sides of the Argument

It takes effort to see the opinion of others when you feel strongly about a position.  But try to remember that the perspective of others can help you grow in your understanding.  It is natural to want to do things your own way, but you should be willing to listen to the team members and genuinely give thought to their suggestions. Sometimes being able to see things from a different perspective will deter future conflicts.

Change Your Response

The way you respond to a situation determines the outcome. Make a conscious decision to speak calmly, and maintain a level of professionalism in the workplace. Speaking calmly prompts others to do the same, which helps them hear you and controls the situation.

Agree to Disagree

Remember, there is no rule that says a co-worker must see a situation the way you see it.  In a heightened situation you can agree to disagree, and then move forward to work together as a team.

Cotton Candy Magazine®