5 Tips on Dealing With Difficult Colleagues

Your workplace may be great, but sometimes the people who you work with are not always the best. You may get along with most, but there are always a bad apple or two that makes the day feel slower and takes a toll on both your mental health and productivity.

These colleagues may be dismissive, arrogant, distracting or plain toxic, but how can you navigate around them in a workplace and still get stuff done?


Focus on Work, Not Them – Unfortunately, you don’t really have a say in who is in your workplace (even if you work in HR). However, your workplace is still a place to get things done, not to deal with personal conflicts. Keep to yourself and get your projects done, and try not to get engulfed in the toxicity.


Don’t Take it Personally – The reason behind their toxic behaviors may be caused by external factors outside of their control. In this case, do not take their comments personally and understand that it may just be a difficult period for them.


Foster a Positive Work Relationship – Regardless of how you feel about them, it is more than likely that you will still have to work with these individuals on a project or team, and is easy to exclude them just because of how they make you feel. Instead, try being more inclusive and fostering a positive work relationship by giving them constructive feedback and asking them for their opinion.


Set Boundaries – There are times when your colleague may have crossed the line and demand more of your time or attention than they deserve. In this case, you need to gently set boundaries and tell them “no”. If they are pushing a project on you aggressively or saying something toxic, politely tell them you are preoccupied.


Know When Enough is Enough – If your colleague consistently causes you distress and affects your productivity at work, you need to know when to take action and take the case to HR or their direct manager. If you cannot control the situation even after various efforts, it is worth looking into leaving your workplace and going somewhere new for a change of scenery (and people).


Dealing with difficult coworkers is not easy, but it’s something can be done with a little bit of empathy and patience. The reason behind their behaviors may be more complicated than you think, and most of the times it’s not because of you. Isolating yourself from these individuals and focusing on your work will make sure you will be able to get things done without the negative energy around you.


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