Your boss may be incompetent, but hellish co-workers can bring turmoil to your working life, as well as your emotional and physical well-being. Every organisation has one, if not many, and they come in different guises; the bully, the know-it-all and the suck up, to name a few. But don't worry, help is at hand with some useful advice on how to cope with these nightmare colleagues, and reduce stress at work in the process.
1) Predict and prepare
Work colleagues may be annoying but they tend to be pretty predictable as well. For instance, the work gossip will always gossip and the complainer will always complain. Although it is difficult to predict what people will do in every situation, we can anticipate the theme of this drama or conflict and prepare a response. Without this preparation, we are likely to react with anger or annoyance which will only make the situation worse. Role playing with someone you trust, and trying out a few responses can help you find the most effective way to resolve the issue.
2) No to bad behaviourMuch like children, the behaviour of hellish workmates will be reinforced if you become embroiled in their games. It may be tempting to react, particularly if you feel under attack, but this will just give them leverage so try hard to resist otherwise you will just sink to their level. By keeping responses short, polite, rational and void of emotion, the bad behaviour will extinguish or they will simply get bored and move onto someone else, who is willing to play a part in their drama.
3) Remember, it's not personalSometimes work colleagues are difficult because they lack social skills or have issues of their own and use conflict to mask these. There is no excuse for bad behaviour but at least if you think about it like this it gives you a reason for their behaviour, which is often more likely about them than you. In this instance, don't take it personally and try to find some shared interest so you can understand one another better and work alongside each other more harmoniously.
First Psychology Scotland has centres in the following locations:Edinburgh: 0131-668-1440, www.edinburghtherapy.co.uk
Glasgow: 0141-404-5411, www.glasgowpsychology.co.uk
Borders: 01896-800-400, www.borderspsychology.co.uk
Aberdeen: 01224-452848, www.aberdeenpsychology.co.uk