Dealing with that difficult colleague

We spend a great deal of our time at our workplaces, so ideally, we’d wish that we get along with everyone because you know, working alongside people you don’t like or respect can be draining.

This isn’t usually the case though. You will always meet that difficult person at work all the time. They come in many forms though; there are those who will try to intimidate you using their job positions so you can submit to them. Then there are the ones who will use every opportunity to attack you with something personal, say something about your appearance, aimed at lowering your self confidence. We also have those who impose their ideas on you by all means necessary, never giving you an opportunity to share your thoughts. And let’s not forget the ones that prefer to report everything and anything to the boss, even when it’s something that could have been resolved by the two of you.

We all come from different backgrounds with not so similar upbringings and when we meet, we’ll most definitely clash. So as a person, how do you deal with such people at your workplace? An acquaintance of mine recently confessed to working with this person who had become such a pain in her leg.

First and most importantly, you must remember two things: #1 is that we do not have to like or respect one another in order to work together. It would be nice if we did, but now that we don’t, work must still go on. #2: work is not a popularity contest. If you want popularity, join a beauty contest or become a socialite, otherwise, your main focus should be on doing your job. You did not join that organization to please people.

You also need to minimize interactions with this person. Meet when you must and when all is done, get back to your business. Avoid situations where you will engage for too long. If you must, ensure you stick to the business at hand.

It is sometimes good to confront the problem. Approach the person and let them know how you feel about your interactions. Talk about specifi examples. If there is no change even after the conversation, learn to deal with them. Ignoring this person may work too. However, should this interfere with your work so much, you need to take it up with your immediate Supervisor or the HR.

  • Great article and tips.

    I used to handle it more or less like you share here. I always believed and lived strongly that when you have an issue with a colleague for example (or anyone) you first try to sort it out with that person in PRIVATE, not behind their back, not within a group, ganging up against the person and not quickly running to the boss.

    Now, I am unfortunately a different person in some ways. I have experienced extreme bullying at work while I was going through traumatic bereavement. The bullying was enabled and even caused by the HR department, as this toxic workplace’s foundation of success is to bully staff into more productivity.

    For three years during grief I have tried internally within the company to make suggestions for improvement on how bereaved employees, and staff in general. It was in vain, as this is systemic. If a company is build on a bullying mentality, it doesn’t matter how well you work (and I was really good in my job, I don’t mean this arrogantly), it doesn’t matter how much positive change you bring to it, you are done, you have no chance.

    Now I am doing something I never though I’d do, going public and “rant” about how a company destroys lives (last year one employee ended her life).

    I will eventually go back to being constructive, positive and encouraging. But I am still suffering and wonder if I ever recuperate and have a life again. But through my “rants” several Unions gotten wind of it and are starting to look at the company for the sake of the many employees who work so hard, but are treated so bad in return.

    I hope it is ok when I post like this here, if not, please just delete and pardon me.

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