How To Deal With Difficult Coworkers

Avoid getting tangled in their messy web.

1. Be Aware of Toxicity
Don’t turn a blind eye to troubles around you – recognize colleagues who bring you down. Perhaps they affect your productivity with lengthy one-sided conversations or don’t respect deadlines. Others may gossip about coworkers or intimidate their direct reports. Once you recognize these problem people, avoid getting tangled in their messy web.

2. Promote Positivity
If coworkers have a consistently negative attitude, remind yourself of what you like about your job. That way, when disgruntled colleagues start complaining, you can douse the flames. They’ll gradually realize that you don’t feel the way they do and will most likely take the negativity somewhere else.

3. Let Slackers Slack
If lazy colleagues think hard-and-fast deadlines are just guidelines, resist the urge to step in and cover for them. Those in management will eventually notice their lackluster performance and will demand that they step up or ship out.

4. Stop Bullies in Their Tracks
If you feel intimidated, humiliated or insulted by a coworker, there’s a good chance you’re being bullied. Confront him or her by laying out exactly how they’re acting and how it’s affecting your work. They just might back off then and there.

5. Set a Good Example
Ask yourself: What kind of an employee am I? You don’t need to be a rah-rah, everything-is-awesome-here type, but you should be polite and courteous to others, respect their space and their work, and always do your job.

6. Involve a Third Party
If your coworkers persist in affecting your work negatively, it might be time to take things to another level. Speak up to your supervisor or an HR representative. Be prepared with specifics as to what’s bothering you. You may not be the only one to lodge a complaint. Be brave, but keep an open mind.