How to work with someone who rubs you the wrong way
It can be extremely difficult to work with others, especially if you just don't like them. Maybe they are obnoxious or maybe they talk constantly but what ever the reason you must handle the situation professionally your career depends on it.
Working with a person that is obnoxious and other people are also affected by their behavior is much easier than working with someone who undermines your professional contributions or is just plain out to get you. This type of situation needs to be addressed because it most likely will get worse. It is best to address the person and the situation when you can maintain some objectivity and emotional control. If you do not address the situation, your anger and resentment will only grow until you are fed up and lose control. You do not want to address the situation irrationally, it is not only unprofessional but may get you fired. Also, if you are involved in constant conflict at work and complain about the coworker or situation, you may be labeled a whiner or complainer that is unable to solve problems like a mature professional. This could be devastating to you and your career.
There are ways of addressing the situation and person that are productive. And there are ways that are not, such as confronting the person publicly, which is never a good idea or putting dead animals in their desk, which is not only a health risk but disgusting and for sure grounds for immediate termination. If you would like to keep your job and deal with the situation professionally there are several things you can do.
- Begin by taking a good look at yourself. Are you sure that you are not overreacting? Has this type of situation or one similar happened before with previous coworkers? It is best to start out examining yourself to determine if the problem exists because of the other person or if the problem is you. This may not be an easy thing to do but it must be done.
- Talk to a trusted friend or coworker about what you are experiencing. Ask a co-worker whom you trust if they are experiencing any of the situations that you are. You may not be only one that finds the person difficult to work with. Brainstorm some positive ways of addressing the situation.
- Have a private discussion with the person you are having the problem with. Be pleasant and polite while you speak to the person. Tell them what you are experiencing and explain to your coworker how their actions are affecting you and your work. Do not accuse or attack the person when you are having this discussion.
They may respond in several different ways. They may not even be aware of how their behavior or actions have affected you or they could be learning this for the first time. Or they could just plain deny it. And the worst case scenario is they know what impact they have on you and just don't care. But how they respond is important for you to know so that you can decide what action, if any, needs to be taken next.
- After the initial discussion, decide if a follow up discussion is necessary. You will need to determine if their behavior has gotten worse, better or stayed the same and if a follow up discussion is really going to have an impact or just a big waste of time. Decide whether or not you want to continue to approach this person or if you would like to try something different.
No matter how you decide to approach the situation and person, maintain your professionalism and self control.