Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Co-workers from hell - part II

Following on from our previous blog, here are some more strategies on how to handle difficult co-workers.

As everyone is different, there is obviously not one single, sure fire way to deal with awkward workmates but there are some things you can do, or rather avoid doing that can make the situation better. Avoid:
  • sarcasm
  • defensiveness.
  • using 'you' - instead use 'I' and 'we' statements, as 'you' implies they are the problem not that the problem is shared. e.g. 'I don't understand' rather than 'You're not making sense'.
  • expressing emotion as this makes it difficult for the other person to keep up their high level of emotion. This can be done by keeping your voice soft and your tone even.
  • engaging. If the conflict continues and is not being resolved, then politely disengage from the situation by, for example, saying 'I think it would be better to discuss this when emotions aren't so high', then walk away. 
If none of the above work, you may need to remove yourself completely from the situation. By declining invitations out when you know your colleague will be present or choosing work assignments that do not involve you and your colleague working together.

You should also ask yourself whether your co-worker is completely to blame or whether you play a part in the problem, by being intolerant or a perfectionist for instance.

The only power your hellish co-worker has over you is that which you give them. By not engaging or reacting to their antics, you can save energy and be more productive, which in turn will put less stress on your body and mind.

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

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