5 Ways To Get Along With Difficult Co-Workers

  • Discuss The Problem
  • Try Being Friendly
  • Look At The Situation Differently
  • Minimize Interaction
  • Report If Necessary

Anyone starting a new job might want some tips for getting along with difficult co-workers. In every job, there is usually someone who isn’t easy to get along with. Because working with them is a necessity, it is important to handle the situation delicately. The following are five helpful tips for how to get along with co-workers who are becoming a problem.

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1. Discuss The Problem

The first step should always be to try and talk through the issue like reasonable adults. Carefully consider where the root of the problem truly lies. Try and lay out a compromise and see if the difficult co-worker will accept it. This is the ideal way to handle the problem because both parties are likely to walk away without hurt feelings. The difficult co-worker may not have even realized they were being difficult and will cease the problematic behavior without issue. This doesn’t always work, but it is always worth a try.

2. Try Being Friendly

Being friendly is another way to get along with difficult co-workers. Most people will react more nicely if someone is nice to them first. Early impressions can be wrong and it may just be a case of getting to know someone better. As Inc states, humor, especially of the self-deprecating variety, also works exceptionally well to diffuse a situation and can reframe the problem in a more agreeable manner for the co-worker who is being difficult. Sometimes, the solution to the problem can be that simple.

3. Look At The Situation Differently

Sometimes the problem is the person who has a problem. Take a step back and look at the issue critically as well as from the other person’s perspective. Perhaps the difficult co-worker is not actually being so difficult after all. Perhaps the employee with the problem is looking at the situation the wrong way. It is entirely possible that the annoyed employee was not an especially good match for working in this particular office environment. Perhaps what is making the difficult employee difficult is a disability they cannot control. It is important not to judge until the entirety of the story is known. Often, the best solution is to alter expectations.

4. Minimize Interaction

Simply ignoring the difficult co-worker may prove to be the solution. People engaging in obnoxious behavior typically stop when they see it is not getting a response from the intended victim. Choosing to work in a different area of the office than the co-worker is a good solution, as is moving offices altogether if possible and not too blatant. If the situation is particularly bad, the person with the problem could quietly transfer to a different department or manager as well.

5. Report If Necessary

Reporting difficult co-workers should always be a last resort, but it is among the most important tips for getting along with difficult co-workers. Sometimes it is wholly necessary to talk to a manager about the issue. This is especially true if the difficult co-workers are doing anything illegal or against company policy. Harassment should never be tolerated and inappropriate behavior should be reported to the human resources department immediately. If a manager is the problem, going to HR, another manager at the boss’s level or a boss at the higher level are all options.

Problem co-workers are a reality of working life. Methods of effectively dealing with these people must, therefore, be cultivated. These tips for getting along with difficult co-workers should be able to help anyone adjust to a new job.