How we all wish that we only got to work with people we get along with like a house on fire (how much sense does that metaphor make, really?). Unfortunately, no matter how hard we wish this will never be the case. The world of work is a diverse, ever dynamic space. And very much a part of the tough, real world which teaches us very many lessons about life. One being, regardless of whether you like it or not, there will be times when you have to work with a difficult coworker or two. Maybe even coworkers you say you ‘hate’. Now, while hate is a very strong four lettered word (which is also injurious to health), we do understand the strong sentiments at play there.
While you cannot avoid these situations where you will be needed to work with coworkers you don’t exactly get along with, here are some tips that will probably lessen the suffering.
It is strange how much we underestimate the value of this critical life function. Breathing is the only thing that separates life from death. ‘Take a deep breath’, is the most under rated thing. Every time you feel overcome with anxiety and pressure because you are unable to cope with a difficult coworker, breathe. Just remind yourself to breathe. You will be surprised how effective this technique is. Try this zen technique called STOP: S- Step back. T – Take a breath. O- Observe. P- Proceed.
This situation won’t last forever. But while it lasts, how about you make the best of it? If nothing else, let it teach you how to function in what you may call, adverse situations. Does it feel like if you survive this, you can survive anything? Well then, you’ve got to get through it. Anything that makes you feel invincible is worth it. Find a way of making this seem like a challenge, and then take on it. By the end of it, you will feel proud of yourself.
In case the lack of harmony between you and the other party concerned stems from mostly difference in opinion regarding the work you are doing, play by the rules. That way, you cannot get into any trouble and any cause of discontent regarding the rules is not your problem. You did not come up with them, you are simply following them. Every time you need to remind your co-worker about the same, do so gently. And do let them know that they have the option of taking it up with the management.
When we are sure that we are right, we bend over backwards to ‘prove’ to the other person that we are right. What we do not understand is, that the person at the other end perhaps also has his/ her very strong reasons in believing they are right. Which they are hell-bent on proving. Getting into a tussle of this sort in a professional space can be extremely draining, not to mention a serious deterrent to your productivity. So instead of trying to change the other person involved, change your approach. You can have absolutely no control over anything which is beyond yourself. The sooner you realize this, the more time and energy you will save. And by no means will you be conceding defeat in any way by doing this.
Dislike for a difficult coworker is no reason to display unprofessional behavior. Remember that by doing so you will be harming no one but yourself. No matter how angry you are, handle the situation professionally and in a respectful manner. When you feel that the situation is getting out of hand, reach out to the management for a conflict resolution intervention. Take care for the situation to not turn into a judgment call on your reputation or professionalism.
While it can’t be easy to deal with a situation like this, it surely isn’t impossible. And like they say, it is the worst situations that bring out the best in you! What is the worst quality of a someone you would call a difficult coworker? Comment below and we will include your take on that, in our next blog!