Learning to deal with a co-worker you don’t really care for can be difficult, but necessary. Here are four important tips to help keep the peace at the office.
1.) Be civil.
Being civil, even when it’s the last thing in the world you want to do, is a skill you most likely learned while in the armed forces. Unfortunately, it’s necessary in civilian life as well. There is that one co-worker or team member who you really can’t stand. Whether it’s because they’re constantly negative or don’t carry their weight during projects, you don’t enjoy being around them. If this is the case, you don’t have to be their best friend, but it is important to always remain civil. In an article entitled “Dealing With Problem Co-Workers,” Bob Skladany says “get your emotions under control, and focus on improving work relationships and your performance.” Remaining civil will go a long way to keeping the working relationship and projects moving forward.
2.) Think of the good attributes that co-worker brings to the table.
Everyone has something they are good at. Think back to your time while serving—everyone had a skill they excelled in. It’s the same in civilian careers. If you look past a person’s negative points, there is sure to be some skill or resource that particular co-worker brings to the table. Skladany goes on to say “it may be helpful if you learned more about the bothersome co-worker’s personal and work situation. His behavior could feel a little less troubling if you understood more about his situation and perspective.” Allowing yourself to understand—and feel compassionate toward—your troublesome co-worker may help alleviate the situation.
3.) Fake it till you make it.
Sometimes, you just have to fake it till you make it. Doing your best to compliment and show interest in your co-worker may help break the cycle of a bad working relationship.
4.) If all else fails, take it up the chain of command.
If nothing else is working and the negative relationship with your co-worker is affecting your work quality or causing undue amounts of stress, consider it time to take it up the chain of command. Just as in the armed forces, there is a chain of command at work, so start with your immediate supervisor. This may make things awkward at work, but can be necessary in certain circumstances. Skladany says it best “give the boss your view as objectively, factually and unemotionally as possible. Focus on the work consequences of the ongoing troublesome behavior.”
Dealing with a co-worker you don’t like may be a necessary evil of your current job situation. Keep these tips in mind to keep the negativity down and the quality of work up.