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It's inevitable. At some point during your professional life you will encounter at least one coworker who is difficult to work with or who just annoys you. The most important thing to remember when dealing with any co-worker who you don't see eye-to-eye with is to maintain your professionalism. Don't compromise your integrity or reputation because of someone else's actions. You've heard it before, you can't control how people behave, but you can control your reaction to their behavior.
Your reaction to a situation with a difficult coworker will always depend on the situation, for example, is their bad behavior:
Most of the time if the irritant is one of the first two issues, you should be able to handle the problem on your own without involving other coworkers or your supervisor. Using one of these strategies should be enough to diffuse any potential conflicts:
If their behavior is either of the bottom bullet points, getting a superior will likely be necessary. There are some issues that you shouldn't attempt to handle on your own, particularly if they involve unethical or inappropriate behaviors including discrimination and harassment. In those cases, speak to a manager you feel comfortable with.
Remember - above all stay professional!
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|