Dealing With Your Difficult Coworkers

Oh, coworkers. One of the many things in this universe seemingly out of our control. They eat smelly lunches at their desk, snap at you for no good reason and allow their children to run up and down the office like it’s an 8-hour, high-intensity, field day.

With so much stimulation to our senses and temperaments, it’s really no wonder that we spend hours griping about who we work with. However, the truth is, coworkers highlight the weakest spots in our armor. Without their differences to offset us, it would be really hard to get better at what we do. So before you choke anyone, try remembering these three things:

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1. It’s Not About You
The nasty tone of an email. Someone’s strong dislike for your curry soup. The way he must have the last word with always. None of those things are about you. Random acts of negativity usually stem from a person’s past experience. Like when they were afraid of being a nerd in grade school or when their father smelled like curry after spending a night at a whore house (or something like that.)

We all have our triggers to our past that unlock our insecurities. Most of the time we can keep them in check, but at work — the place where everyone wants to shine and be valued — it’s a hard thing to do. So don’t lose your cool  — it’s not about you. Hurt people tend to hurt people. When you keep that in mind and view challenges with compassion and understanding, life gets a lot easier.

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2. Don’t Be Afraid To Check A Fool
Confrontations don’t have to be altercations. I know many people are afraid to tell someone that they were hurt or offended. However, that shouldn’t be the case. My team and I have “Come to Jesus” sessions all the time at work —drawing us closer, making us more accountable and infinitely better at doing our jobs.

Try thinking of a confrontation as just a conversation. You aren’t saying you don’t like the person — you are just saying that something has happened that’s affecting your performance and it needs to not happen again. For the best approach,  imagine how they would like to be told what you have to say. Do they need it over drinks? Do they like straight talk? Taking this extra step helps to ensure your message is received and gets the change you are really looking for.

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3. What Annoys You Is You
At work, we can develop more pet peeves than we ever knew possible. But before you label someone your arch nemesis, reread bullet 1 above and ask yourself, “Why do I really hate this person?” The answer may be more about you than you realize.

For instance, I don’t like it when people don’t have their shit together at work. I once told two unprepared coworkers in a meeting “I don’t have time to watch you think,” before I walked out of their half-assed, last minute presentation. I was raging angry that I could never be so unprepared to do my job like that. I had three times the workload of those around me back then, and felt the pressure to hit the ball out of the park every single time. I spent the weekend working my ass off and here they were — giggling over what they should remember to tell me. Control-Alt-Hell Naw.

But as you can see—it  was more about me, not about them. The minute I recognized that, I was able to re-shift my energy and find patience for who team members who needed my support more than my annoyance. And luckily, one of those girls is now my very close friend.

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Have more ways to deal with your #worklife? Share them below or on twitter. And if you’re going to say wine, please be truly helpful and shout out a brand and year, you lush!

2 Comments

  1. You are a smart cookie! I love this post…very very insightful and way way mature. Loving your site.

  2. I like the last bullet- what annoys me is me. I could totally relate to working hard even on the weekends so that I can have my shit together. I understand some people don’t, but if it gets to the point where it affects the team, then what annoys me becomes about US.

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