Ways to Deal With Difficult Coworkers – No matter where you work, there are some challenging coworkers who are difficult to deal with. Getting along effectively with such people is key to developing your conflict resolution skills. Dealing with them is challenging or often easier. Whether a difficult coworgker or a demanding boss, it’s time to speak up and learn how to deal with difficult coworkers and inspire a positive work environment. Unresolved issues and a negative environment at the workplace can adversely affect you personally and professionally and lead to tensions & stress.

In this article, we share 7 helpful ways to deal with difficult coworkers and make life easier on a job by ensuring a happier work environment. As you learn how to work around their negative behaviors, you will be able to maintain a healthier work environment and begin to focus more on yourself.

Table of Contents

1. Self reflection – ask yourself what are you feeling and find the root cause

A Woman Self-Reflecting By Writing Down Her Mind As Her First Step To Deal With Difficult Coworkers
Photo by Gift Habeshaw

If you’re dealing with difficult coworkers and feeling uncomfortable at work, it’s time to start examining yourself and the situation. Sometimes, the other person is not a problem; instead, your feelings or history make you overreact. Therefore, always start with self-reflection and find the root cause of the situation. It helps you to cope with the problem easier. Focus on your feelings and expressions rather than the other individual’s actions. While talking with such coworkers, use ‘I’ language instead of ‘You’ language to help them understand your perspective. Here is an example of how you should switch your language:

‘I feel that your behavior makes it hard for me to focus
Vs.
‘Your action is irritating’ or You’re annoying’

2. Benchmarking with coworkers – check with other coworkers if they’re experiencing the same issue

Benchmarking
Photo by Kenny Eliason

Based on a McKinsey report, a well-connected teams experienced a rise in their productivity for around 20%-25%. According to CMSWIRE, 97% employees believe communication impacts the efficiacy of their tasks on daily basis. Thus, benchmarking is one of the way you can choose to communicate with coworkers.

Benchmarking with other coworkers is a great way to cope with this challenging situation at the office. If you are unsure whether you’re overreacting or their behavior & point of voice are making you do so, talk with other coworkers.

Looking at their opinions and knowing whether they are facing the same issue or not will help you to gain others’ perspectives and cope with this challenging situation. The most important thing is that don’t speak ill of a problematic coworker to others. Stick to the facts to get unbiased opinions when benchmarking with coworkers.

3. Don’t assume and understand their perspective – confirm and validate thoughts with your coworkers

Coworkers Talking In A Room
Photo by John Amachaab

Assumptions and judgments are horrible. You find your coworkers difficult due to your assumptions and prejudices. But understanding their perspective will make it easier to get along with them. Try to know them by asking questions, listening to them, and seeing things from their perspective. After knowing them better, you will realize that their behaviours are associated with their life experiences.

4. Communicate the concern – calmly communicate in a private conversation to make sure your needs are known

Coworkers Communicating Calmly &Amp; Privately To Deal With Difficult Coworkers
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions

It is best to deal with such coworkers by calmly communicating privately. Talk to the coworker about the concern and impact of their actions on you. Be calm and pleasant while talking about the issue with that person. Probably, they are not aware of the situation and how their actions affect you. It can help both of you to reach a mutual conclusion. Remember to keep it private between the two of you. Making your issue public in the workplace is always a bad idea.

5. Focus on yourself – it’s easier to change ourselves than to change others

Vivien Roggero | Executive &Amp; Empowerment Coach | Photo 1550592704 6C76Defa9985?Ixlib=Rb 1.2 | August 27, 2022
Photo by Lilartsy

The other common way to deal with difficult coworkers who are negatively impacting your career is to focus on yourself. You can’t control the other person’s actions, but you can control your emotions and actions.

Therefore, reflect on yourself and feel how you act towards them. If the other person is making you upset or distressed, you should become the person who breaks this loop. Show them kindness and compassion in return. This way will help you both to move forward.

“You can’t change anyone, but yourself.” – Anonymous.

Also Read: Be Yourself With These Steps

6. Give positive feedback – don’t be afraid to give feedback

Giving Coworker Feedback
Photo by LinkedIn Sales Solutions

Equally important is to learn how to give positive feedback to your manager and teammates. Giving positive feedback will help you get your relationship with coworkers to a good place. It will help them understand your positivity and focus on positive relationships. Therefore, don’t be afraid to provide feedback, instead, be optimistic in every situation and give positive feedback about your coworkers.

7. If all else fails – distance yourself from the difficult coworkers

Vivien Roggero | Executive &Amp; Empowerment Coach | Photo 1585511426526 A21C74Efa642?Ixlib=Rb 1.2 | August 27, 2022
Photo by Nadine Shaabana

When all else fails, it’s worth distancing yourself from difficult people at the workplace. It would be wise to limit your interaction, remove yourself from the situation and create boundaries with such coworkers. When they realize they are not being listened to, they know they can’t push you to go along with what you want, so they will give up. Creating conversational boundaries & physical distance and avoiding them will help you mitigate difficult situations. Furthermore, enforce it consistently when you limit your interactions to protect your mental and emotional space.

Conclusion

Regardless of any industry or department, you have to interact with many people with difficult personalities. Such difficult coworkers can decrease productivity and growth by causing a problematic work environment. Luckily, you can handle such coworkers and keep the peace in your office by following the seven ways mentioned above. Also, these ways will be helpful for you to build positive relationships and reach your career goals. Try out these ways to manage your interactions with problematic coworkers.

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