You can’t choose whom you work with…
…which is probably why one of PrideStaff’s most popular posts explains how to handle toxic coworkers. In fact, the topic went over so well that it spurred two other posts, each addressing a specific type of irritating employee:
While most playground bullies abandon their childish, offensive behaviors when they grow up, some continue to strong-arm their way through their careers – making work a real nightmare for anyone who tries to stand in their way. Here’s how to stop a workplace bully in their tracks and keep them from undermining your success on the job.
When an overly chatty coworker locks you in their crosshairs, they can break your chain of thought and undermine your productivity (not to mention irritate the heck out of you). This post shares preemptive tips you can use when you’re tempted to yell, “Shut UP – I have work to do!”
Try the tips in these posts first to deal with a toxic coworker.
But what should you do if these tips don’t work?
If you like your job and your company, don’t let someone else’s behavior ruin your opportunity. Here are a few things to try to make your work life a little easier, even if you’re forced to interact with a miserable employee…
- Let yourself off the hook. The truth? You don’t have to like someone to work alongside them. So don’t beat yourself up about it; just resolve to keep your feelings to yourself. Sometimes, simply removing the pressure to like a fellow employee can sufficiently alleviate the stress of working with them.
- Let them go. Eventually, even the most destructive hurricane loses its power. Instead of trying to resist, block or fight with someone who’s irritating or unreasonable, let them spin themselves out. When someone doesn’t get the response they want from you, they’ll eventually move on to a new target or different activity.
- Focus on what you can control: your own behavior. Attempting to control a toxic employee’s actions usually doesn’t work – and frequently backfires. So resist the urge! Instead, when someone behaves in a way that’s rude, annoying or subversive, control the way you react. Figure out what behaviors trigger your frustration. Once you identify those buttons, practicing a simple relaxation activity (e.g., deep breathing, brief meditation, positive visualization) may help minimize the negative impact irritating coworkers have on you.
- Vent where it’s safe. Griping to coworkers may make you feel good, but reflects negatively on you. If you need to vent about a coworker who’s driving you nuts, confide in a family member or a friend outside work. And if a work situation becomes intolerable, speak to your supervisor or HR (if you’re in a direct role) or contact your staffing recruiter (if you’re on assignment).
Want more tips for working with people you don’t necessarily like?
Read PrideStaff’s earlier post, Dealing with Toxic Coworkers.
Looking for a new employment opportunity in a more positive work environment?