When you’re first starting out in the ‘real world’, it can be a real drag to work side-by-side with a colleague who is less than warm. The inability to get along with people you spend so much time with may distract you and affect your ability to excel. Here’s how to deal with colleagues who throw you off balance.
Analyze the Problem:Initially, you might be shocked that you aren’t able to be cordial with someone you work with. They may even be treating you unprofessionally. For example, an old-timer might ignore your greetings, or worse, your work-related requests, leaving you to fend for yourself. They may have influence over other employees and bad-mouth you. Take a deep breath, and clearly see what is happening. Be sure that you are making an accurate assumption about the situation, and then come up with a plan. Get coaching if need be.
The Friendly Approach: It can take time to get to know colleagues. If you can find something to appreciate about them, comment on it in a favorable way. “Wow, great skirt, where did you get it? You always look nice.” If that person sees your genuine willingness, they will be naturally drawn to you, and you may both learn to get along despite any differences.
Take the Initiative:If the problem doesn’t go away, deciding to live with the situation long-term is not an option. Your situation won’t improve unless you do something about it. In fact, left unaddressed, it usually gets worse. Let the colleague know that you want to be friendly and if that still doesn’t work, it may be time to have a conversation with your boss about the situation.
Keep it Private: Complaining at work can quickly earn you a bad reputation. So if this problem needs to be addressed, be sure to keep all of your dealings with the person in private. Suggest that the two of you talk in a conference room or even go out for coffee or lunch. Never lose your temper at work or engage in a confrontation in front of your colleagues.
Stay True to Yourself: As problematic as the person may be, there are many dysfunctional approaches to dealing with them that you do not want to fall victim to. Don’t ever stoop to a level that isn’t you. If you get angry, take a walk and blow off some steam before reacting. Avoid email confrontations, gossiping about the person, and bad-mouthing them to the boss.
Agree to Disagree:If, after all this, you still can’t seem to get along with the person, then don’t sweat it. It’s not in your job description to be friends with everyone at work, but as long as you’re able to have a professional relationship while getting the job done, then no harm, no foul. There may even be a chance to learn from each other’s opinions, viewpoints, and ideas.
Here’s how to stay centered in the midst of a storm:
Don’t let a difficult colleague bring you down by making you feel inadequate or inferior. Remember you are gifted and talented; otherwise, you wouldn’t have gotten this job in the first place.
Take some alone time to rejuvenate yourself and breathe. Restore your coping resources to replenish energy and feelings of well-being.
Music is great therapy! Lighten your mood and relax by listening to a song that makes you happy.
Practice Mindfulness by staying in the present moment. Rather than getting lost in negative thoughts or reacting to the negativity of others, stay centered and grounded. This practice can help you learn to accept feelings instead of judging or trying to change them.