Dealing With a Difficult Co-Worker

From the desk of Sarah Wolfe – PSG Recruitment Manager 


In some cases, when a team of individuals come together, conflict arises. How that conflict is dealt with can mean the difference between success and failure for the business at large. Learning to deal with people of difference backgrounds,  perspectives, and personalities is an important step in your professional education because from time to time you might run into a difficult co-worker. These individuals can hinder your productivity at work, resulting in a decrease in your happiness or even your ability to accomplish your day to day responsibilities. Rather than getting mad, get to work. Here are 3 ways to deal with someone like this and get things back on track at work.

Take a Different Perspective

If you are having difficulty dealing with a difficult co-worker, take a minute to try to see things from their perspective. Viewing the situation from another perspective can increase understanding and empathy for the other team member and result in more openness to compromise. If you acknowledge that every individual brings unique experiences and perspectives to the table and the value of a team is in everyone’s ability to contribute in their own way, you can move past the difficulty and find common ground. Remember that everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle, one you might not be aware of. Take that into consideration when your patience runs thin.

Embrace Positivity

Workplace tensions are more easily dispelled when there is an overall culture of positivity within the team. A positive outlook and good motivation will help avoid the sort of disagreements that will bring work to a standstill. By propagating positivity, you are facilitating productivity and strong team spirit. Positivity is contagious too. If you are having difficulty with a co-worker, don’t allow your negativity to make interactions more difficult. Lead by example and make sure you have a good attitude. Make a conscious effort not to hold grudges and actively move forward to a better relationship.

Often the solution to negative emotions is more connection so seek out more time with the individuals you have difficulty with. Take the time to get to know each other, grab lunch, work closer together, find common ground and soon you will feel more supported in their efforts to work together.

Engage a Neutral Party

If a disagreement goes too far that you are no longer able dispel the tension by yourself, then consider engaging a neutral third party to facilitate further discussions. Human resources are a great resource, and they are a natural choice to mediate conflict in a professional and lawful manner.  If your company does not have a strong human resources team, requesting assistance from an outside party, one that is completely neutral, may also be a good option. First, evaluate and outline what you and the conflicting parties want to get out of such a mediation, and work with an outside partner to meet those goals. The peace and release of tensions brought about by such interventions can do wonders for the long-term success and collaboration skills of your team.

We at PSG Mississippi are ready to help you achieve your career goals through better communication and matching strong candidates to great opportunities. Contact us today!

Sarah Wolfe, CSP – PSG Recruitment Manager

It is always a great feeling to help someone get a good job at a large company with a terrific benefit package, but I particularly take pleasure in helping small businesses compete and win at hiring the best talent. The PSG difference is the effort we put into cultivating a “trusted advisor” relationship with our clients and candidates.  This collaborative experience produces the very best hires!

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