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Whether you are working in the office or at home, you will have to deal with people. Unfortunately, not all the coworkers are easy to work with.

Some situations can be so complicated that you might consider leaving your job. However, there are no hopeless situations, and we have outlined some tips on how to deal with a difficult coworker.

Being able to deal with a difficult coworker might be quite challenging, but at the same time, it is a great opportunity to improve your communication skills and create a better working environment for yourself and your colleagues who also struggle at the workplace because of a difficult person.

Types of Colleagues That Are Hard to Deal with

Difficult coworkers come in many forms and shapes in all workplaces. How you deal with them depends on your self-confidence, your bravery, and how close you need to work with the person day-to-day during your working time.

There are many types of people who appear to be hard to work with, but we will mention only some most widespread types of those who are trouble at the workplace.

  • Bully at work is one of the most difficult people to deal with. The astounding amount of workers confesses that the reason for changing the job is being intimidated by a person they worked with. Those who quit the job felt not eager to go to work to avoid being insulted, yelled at, and regularly criticized.
  • Another type of person who is not easy to cope with is a negative coworker. They always complain about everything and find faults even in something great for everyone else. They constantly want your attention to express their dissatisfaction. As a result, interaction with them drains you out of energy, brings distress, and hampers you to be productive in the workplace.
  • Gossipers can be classified as another type of coworkers that may annoy you and disrupt your productive work. Of course, there are those employees who would be quite happy to know all office rumors, even if they are blown out of proportion. But you may feel uncomfortable around such people, as they want to share a lot of personal information about other colleagues that you do not want to know. They even may start nagging you to disclose what you know.
  • Very often the top of the destructive forces at the workplace can be your boss. He is the one who supposed to support, encourage, give direction, and help you develop professionally. However, he ends up being the reason why you dread going to work and get back home after working day devastated and stressed out.

Motivating your employees and encouraging them to develop their skills are the traits of a good boss, but, unfortunately, many of those who are in charge seem to miss this point, to the disappointment of the employees.

4 Ways of Dealing With a Difficult Coworker

1. Staying Calm

When the person is on the edge, it is difficult to take whatever he or she says seriously. It concerns all spheres of life, but it is especially relevant to the workplace, where you are supposed to stay professional and be in control of your emotions at all times.

Dealing with an unpleasant coworker requires extra stamina because if you lose your temper, the chances that you pass your message to him decrease. Moreover, you might end up being considered the one who is a difficult colleague.

2. Trying to Understand the Reasons behind an Unpleasant Behavior

The last thing that you want to get into is why the colleague behaves the way that is annoying you. You are here to work and you are not his boss (or a mom) to tell him how he should behave at the workplace.

However, if the person is toxic and harmful for your working process, the actions need to be taken. The thing is that if a person is annoying or is being mean to you, he might do this unintentionally. There is no need to take it personally, but understanding why he chooses to behave this way may help effectively deal with it. Maybe the person with bad hygiene does not even suspect that he causes inconveniences to you.

This can be solved in a brief, friendly conversation. Perhaps, the reason why the person is criticizing you and is trying to put you down is that he is intimidated by you.

There are many reasons for the dysfunctional behavior of your colleague, but having a private conversation might help solve the issue.

doctor checking out the teeth of his patient

3. Ignoring a Difficult Colleague

If the difficult coworker refuses to cooperate with you without any intention to change the situation, the best solution might be to ignore him. It is better to avoid any communication with him and concentrate on your work.

There are cases when it is impossible to eliminate communication, so at least it should be kept to a minimum. Focus on your work, communicate more with other colleagues who give you great energy, and do not hinder your professional development.

4. Getting to Drastic Measures

Okay, so you have done all you could and your colleague is still making your working environment unbearable. Now it is time to ask for help from a higher authority. Of course, this should be done only in extreme cases when the situation is really out of hand and the person that you dislike disrupts the working process way too much.

If you decided in favor of this drastic method, be careful with your actions. If you complain too many times you might get yourself into trouble. The higher authority might consider you the one who is unable to communicate with coworkers effectively and handle problems yourself.

The majority of people spend more time at work with coworkers than at home with family and friends. Not so many of us are lucky to work in a great team that is supportive and facilitating professional development.

Very often we face with coworkers that display disruptive, unpleasant, and dysfunctional behavior. If there is such an issue in your workplace, it seems that the best solution is to change the job.

However, the experience of solving problems with difficult coworkers and the ability to build positive relationships with members of your team will give you new skills that will for sure help you excel in your job and your career.

Written By
Ester Brierley is a graduate student, junior QA Engineer in software outsourcing company, an enthusiastic freelance writer. She adores researching cutting-edge trends and sharing them in her writing pieces for EssayWanted. You can follow her on Twitter.

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