Workplace Drama: How To Handle A Difficult Co-Worker

Having problems with a difficult co-worker? It can be frustrating when you feel like this person is acting inappropriately, isn’t doing his or her job, or is simply acting like a roadblock between you and success within the company. You might be tempted to go around this person and take the issue to a higher up. However, this might not be in your best interest. (Psst! Can’t get hired? Watch this free tutorial.) In fact, circumventing your colleague and going straight to a manager can cause a deeper rift between you and this person, causing more office drama. So, instead of letting this problem stew, consider the following tips when dealing with a difficult co-worker:


Don’t try to make this person look bad.

Talking behind someone’s back is never the answer. I know, you’re angry and frustrated, but you probably don’t want to vent about your situation to everyone in your office. Eventually, it will get back to the person in question. If this person feels threatened or slandered in any way, it might make matters worse. No one likes to look bad, especially at work. (And especially if they’re seen as an authority in the office.)

Instead, have a one-on-one conversation with this person.

Before you play office leapfrog and jump over your colleague’s head to a higher up, have a conversation with your co-worker. Show respect by going to him with your concerns before taking it to a higher up. Also, if you instantly take your problem to someone else without having a conversation with the person, you risk looking like a whiner who’s not willing to try to find a solution with the person in question. Not a good look.

Give this person the opportunity to explain her side.

If you bring this issue to a higher up without giving this person the opportunity to defend herself, she’s probably going to feel wronged, which isn’t going to help your professional relationship at all. Give this person a chance to explain her side. It might help you understand where she’s coming from so you can find a solution that works for both of you.

If all else fails, suggest that you talk to a higher up together.

If you can’t come to a solution that works for both of you, suggest that you go to the higher up to discuss the issue together to see if you can find a solution. That way, you have both parties representing themselves and neither person gets talked about behind their back. Don’t let a difficult co-worker get your head in a tizzy. Instead, use the above tips to deal with the situation like a BOSS!

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