How to Deal with Difficult Co-Workers

We all have them, right? Co-workers that bring a little extra challenge to the workplace on a regular basis. For many, many reasons, they seem to bring down the office mood and carry an air of tension with them. Maybe they have a cloudy or moody personality, perhaps they have rusty listening skills, or sometimes, they just don’t match the company culture. Or, possibly the difficulty is simply that your two personalities don’t mesh well. The truth is, learning how to deal with difficult co-workers is a highly valuable skill that can be key to career success.

Whatever the situation, being the person who rises above the mess in order to connect and respect differences is a great way to demonstrate the quality of your character. And your boss is sure to notice someone who can bring an especially difficult person into the fold.  

The holidays are the perfect time to smooth those office wrinkles and deal with difficult co-workers for the benefit of one and all. People are particularly open to starting fresh, coming together, and finding empathy for one another. In the spirit of the holidays, make an effort to get along with that challenging co-worker and see if your new year can begin with a new office attitude all around. If you succeed, you can bet on a more productive 2023!

At Masiello Employment Services, we are professional employment matchmakers, who understand the benefits of a smoothly running office team. Here are some inspiring ideas for showing your office Grinch you care:

Start By A Quick Self-Evaluation

Think back to your interactions with this individual, especially initially. The last thing you want is for your efforts to blow up in your face and create an office drama.

So, think back a bit…Is it possible you could have had a better view of the person? Have you been taking their attitude and actions personally? Are you open-minded and communicative with them? Have you remained professional? 

Reflect on what you gain by your relationship with them and how they bring value to you and the company as a whole. This will motivate you to go the extra mile and really bring on the holiday cheer when your opportunity to start afresh arises. You may find your enemy turned friend to be your next best co-worker! 

Talking with co-workerGoing Beyond The Golden Rule

Pay attention and learn about who your co-worker really is. Take note of their signature morning drink and see if you can arrive with it in hand as a surprise. Help them out with a difficult project and make their life a bit easier. Sit and listen to them at lunchtime – make them smile with lighthearted humor. Find ways to connect and demonstrate your renewed commitment to a positive relationship. 

Recognize Their Strengths

Share a compliment about something they do well. Not only will this motivate your challenging co-worker to repeat their success, it will show you admire and appreciate them. Strong teams are built when people collaborate and utilize each other’s capabilities. Working together can make your own work shine, as well.

Advice from co-worker
Ask Their Advice

As hard as it may sound, consider genuinely asking for their help. This will show you not only trust them but value them and are interested in building a bridge of teamwork. When you do collaborate, it’s important to stay positive, open-minded and actively listen to their ideas. 

Don’t Take On Their Problems

Remember, a challenging co-worker is just that – challenging. They’ve built that reputation for a reason or have developed a routine of pushing your buttons. The trick to not taking it personally and allowing it to affect your work performance – or even career potential – is recalling that their problems are their own. 

Furthermore, when you consider their issues to be something they, themselves, are struggling with, you may find yourself empathizing. You may never know what it feels like to walk a mile in their shoes. But, when you are considering how to deal with difficult co-workers, starting with empathy and ending with kindness will never steer you wrong.

Calm at workThe World Needs More Kindness

This task is tough by nature so if you don’t succeed right away – or ever – take a deep breath and give yourself a break. You can always remove yourself from interactions by depending on small talk or limiting exposure. 

Stay positive by spending your energy on self-care or bringing your best self to work. Then when you’re ready, you can come back to the challenge with a full cup. Take heart in the fact that we all could use a little more kindness. With time and understanding, even Scrooge came around in the end. 

At Masiello, we believe in bringing people together, over the holidays and every day. Our dedicated Staffing Managers have been tapping into the best talent, inspiring professional success, and helping companies grow for nearly four decades. 

Our small but mighty team of certified staffing professionals is dedicated to strengthening industry and the economy in the regions we serve across Southern New Hampshire & Vermont and Western Massachusetts. We see success when you do, and we’re motivated to help meet your goals. Ready to get started? Contact us today!