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Staying Calm: How to Cope with Difficult Colleagues
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Dec 07, 2016 |

In every office, you will find colleagues who are challenging to work with. Whether it’s that colleague in the next cubicle who likes to spread gossip, a free rider who slacks off during team projects, or the over-assertive manager who doesn’t let you get a word in – here are some tried and tested tips to cope with them and yes, still be a nice person.

Keep calm

Be levelheaded and control your emotions whenever dealing with a difficult colleague. Getting hotheaded won’t serve you well, and it might just make the situation worse. If you’re having a tough time, it can be helpful to take a step back and detach momentarily, and this will ensure that you avoid saying hurtful or harmful things that you don’t really mean.

Pick a mantra

Choose a phrase or word that helps you focus your attention away from stressful situations our interactions with this person. It can be your own personal safety net.

The phrase you choose should direct you towards a positive state of mind. Repeatedly saying something like “I will not let this person affect me” should help you stay calm.

Take courage

If possible, approach this person for a polite conversation and try to understand where they’re coming from. This might help you change your own perspective.

Remember, it’s also important to avoid being hostile and calmly explain how their behavior is affecting you in the workplace. You’d be surprised how many people can suddenly become open to discussion and offer help or solutions if they feel like you can understand them.

Let it go

If after this, your colleague does not seem to have progressed or made changes to improve themselves, you should consider whether the relationship is worth salvaging. If they refuse to be co-operative, you will need to remove yourself from a toxic situation and surround yourself with positive people. If this is the case, you should spend time cultivating relationships with other co-workers who can build you up and support you.

In the case that you have to world closely with this person, repeated failed attempts at mitigating the situation would leave you with one choice: speaking to management. If the problems between you two are affecting your output, then it should be clear to management that you at least attempted to make things work.

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