Friday, October 5, 2012

Dealing With Strained Coworker Relationships

            We’ve had to (or will have to) deal with others in the workplace who we simply don’t like. Most of the time, these people bring it on themselves by not doing their job, being negative, or treating others with rudeness and disrespect. Other times, there is a person whose personality just doesn’t mesh with yours or you simply can’t relate to each other. Thankfully, these difficult people are usually not the norm, but every now and then, you are bound to come across them. You certainly can’t afford to quit your job because of one person, and you still want to enjoy your job despite this situation. So what can you do? There are ways to make this situation more bearable for you and the other person.

First and foremost, don’t use counterproductive coping methods: rolling your eyes, sighing, walking away when they talk to you, etc. These are passive actions that will only make things worse. Steer clear of negative comments and don’t join in other people’s conversations about this person. While you don’t have to like them, you do have to respect them and this is not the way to show respect. Monitor your end of the conflict and make sure you don’t take your frustrations with this person out on other coworkers Keep in mind that sometimes, you have to interact with this person because you did not choose to work at the same company, you just happen to do so. If the problem is over one incident, do your best to resolve the issue before the resentment grows. Let the working environment stay neutral and don’t let on to your opinion of this person. Remember, if the person truly isn’t doing their job, the consequences will occur without any action on your part.

There are things you should do that can have a positive effect on this relationship. If this strained relationship is with someone who works for you, it may be because they are better suited for a different role in the company. Identifying this and making adjustments may solve the problem altogether. If you decide to try to work things out, do so in a situation where you will feel comfortable and don’t have to compete with them, such as a lunch outing. If you see them struggling with something that you could definitely help them fix, you should do so. You should also think about how you contribute to the problem. When you do need to interact with the person, make conversations short and to-the-point. You could even write down your thoughts or questions for them before you speak to them. If possible, find a mediator to talk to that person for you. If the person really becomes a problem, be assertive and go to your supervisor because at this point, chances are, you’re not the only one who sees an issue here. Finally, if the person was in good standing with you in the past and you are wondering how to patch things up, decide if the relationship is worth the effort or if you should just let it go.

Sometimes, dealing with co-worker relationships is not easy—just be respectful and try to make the best out of the situation. You can’t control them, but you can control you. Make it happen!

© 2012 eMarketing 4 Business LLC

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