How To Get On With ‘Difficult’ Colleagues

Do you ever find yourself wishing ‘so and so’ at the desk opposite or in the adjoining department would find a new job? Is the effort of trying to get on with them all day getting too much?

My sympathies. It’s hard being in a job with folk who continually get up your nose. Gallop, in a poll of employees, found that having a really good friend at work can add greatly to your enjoyment at work, so we can assume the reverse is true. If your heart sinks at the approach of a colleague it’s bound to start affecting how you experience work. So what can you do?

Well, first, try to work out just what it is that irks you? Are they:

  • overbearing, bullying in style, riding roughshod over your ideas?
  • the opposite – timid and deferring to your every whim or idea?
  • inconsistent, happy one day, grumpy the next with no discernable triggers?
  • your competitor, chasing same work as you, trying to get noticed at your expense?

The thorny subject of colleagues often comes up when I am working one to one. Difficulties with colleagues happen to all of us at one time or another. Sometimes the answer can be as simple as avoiding them but that’s not always possible.

So try this tip for just one day. Try and have an empathy day when you put yourself into your colleague’s shoes; instead of automatically assuming they are being difficult, or ascribing a less than flattering reason to them for their behaviour, suspend judgement for one day. Ignore the automatic response you feel when they speak and instead ask them questions about what they are saying. Listen carefully to what they say and notice how they say it. Try and respond to them in the frame of mind you have when you like someone.

We can’t change other folk, we can only change ourselves and our responses. Once we’ve identified what that response is we’re in a strong position to alter it. It’s a very powerful feeling, knowing that you can have this level of control. If you can begin to change how you respond to them, almost invariably they will change how they approach you. But it has to be a genuine feeling from within you otherwise your body language will be saying one thing while your mouth is voicing another. Generally speaking, in emotive issues like this,  it’s your body that will be believed.  Give it a go. Change your response and see if if you can effect a change in their behaviour and make work a little more bearable!

Thinking of expanding your training business? I can help you. To find out more, click here.

Related posts:

Keep Your Power!

The Empathy Quiz

Women’s Personal Development Listening

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Posted on January 21st, 2013 by

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