In a perfect world we would all get along with the people we work with, especially since we spend so much of our day at the job. However, there will be times where we may not get along with our co-worker or find ourselves dealing with people who make our jobs extremely difficult to do. From office bullies to job site gossipers, here is how to deal with a co-worker with bad behavior.

Take a Step Back

Whenever we’re faced with a difficult situation, it’s easy to get caught up in emotions. But before you talk to a manager or get into a heated argument with your co-worker, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Is your co-worker bad behavior solely directed at you or are they generally like that with everyone? Could this be a personality clash (e.g. they’re always sarcastic or naturally speak with a loud voice, etc.)? Fully assessing the situation while not being upset can give you an accurate picture of what’s really going on.

Temper Your Reaction

You can’t control what a difficult co-worker does but you can control how you react. People who bully others, always complain or have a tendency to gossip will continue to do so as long as those around them pay attention. So if the next time a fellow worker attempts to get a negative rise out of you, don’t give them the satisfaction of following suit. Instead, respectfully and calmly stand up for yourself and continue on with your work.

Limit the Time Spent With a Difficult Co-Worker

Another way to avoid conflict with a difficult co-worker is to limit the time spent working with him or her. Work on another part of the job site or take breaks away from your co-worker. The less time you spend working together the less you’ll have to deal with a colleague’s disruptive behavior.

Have a Private Conversation

If your fellow colleague is making your day so unbearable that you’re unable to work, pull them aside for a private conversation. It’s important to remain calm and keep the conversation focused on your feelings. You may discover they had no idea how their behavior has impacted you and will quickly change. However, if your associate continues their inappropriate demeanor you may have to move to the next step.

Involve your manager

Going to your direct manager should be the last resort when dealing with a difficult co-worker. If your work mate is making your job a hostile place to work and jeopardizing your performance, speaking with a manager can help. Before you set up that private meeting, making sure you have clear documentation of all the events that have led up to this step. That includes dates and details of specific incidents as well as what you’ve done to remedy the situation. This gives your manager clear and concise information to work with the information they need to move forward. Once you’ve met with your boss, let them handle the situation from here on out.

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