Whether it’s the loud talker who is oblivious to other people’s presence or the one who rubber stamps everything the manager says, all of us have dealt with co-workers who make us question our time at workplace. Almost every office has a problematic employee, according to Jody Foster, Psychiatrist and Co-author of “The Schmuck in My Office: How to Deal Effectively with Difficult People at Work.” She describes these folks as “schmucks” or “someone who causes people to be upset.”
Some people are blissfully unconscious of their harmful impact on those around them, while others appear to find pleasure in causing turmoil and pushing other people’s buttons. In either case, difficult co-workers cause extra complication, conflict, and, most importantly, stress. As Sheryl Jennifer quoted “Tolerating annoying people is an art, that many may not know.”
Here are the eight most logical tips on dealing with annoying co-workers at work:
1. Recognise the co-worker who annoys you
As simple as it may sound, it is certainly more complicated than that. You might not realise how much a co-worker annoys you on a deeper, personal level if you’re used to a regular cycle of his or her bothersome behaviours and peculiarities. And that’s why, determining the annoying co-worker with an analytical approach is an aspect that we, as humans, usually tend to miss.
Consider the co-worker you complain about the most to your friends or family, the one with whom you have interactions that ruin your day, or the one with whom you would never want to be caught in a packed elevator. Take the time to identify him or her on an in-depth level.
2. Find out the reason behind their behaviour
Try to figure out why this person causes so much resentment. Begin by describing your sentiments for this person in detail. Rather than making broad assertions like “She’s the most obnoxious person on the planet”, identify the feelings evoked.
Simply identifying your feelings has a calming cognitive effect, allowing you to adopt a solution-oriented perspective. Similarly, pinpoint the specific actions that irritate you in your co-worker. An instance given by Forbes suggests changing your mindset from “I can’t tolerate being near her.” to “I believe it’s incredibly disrespectful when she talks over others in meetings.” This also aids in avoiding unneccessary gossip.
3. Pay attention to your reaction to their annoyance
Try to examine what you can learn about yourself from your reaction to that co-worker. Consider what this individual is modelling for you in terms of “how not to be.” It’s also possible that a co-worker’s actions have triggered worries or insecurities that you’d like to address. If a co-worker annoys you because he’s always stealing the show, investigate whether it’s touching on a fear of coming across as smug if you did the same. Instead of stewing in rage, know whether learning to better win your own accomplishments is something you want to concentrate on.
This “looking in the mirror” method, as it’s known in leadership development, may appear straightforward, but it’s not always easy. Indeed, it may show areas where you’re no longer willing to be mistreated, as well as areas where you need to establish firmer personal boundaries in relationships, such as with co-workers or your boss. Others may experience vulnerabilities such as feeling like a fraud at work or seeking acceptance at work. It takes strength and courage to confront these difficult emotions.
4. Set boundaries
One of the ways to avoid such situations is to create boundaries and separate yourself when required. Consider this example: if a complainer was smoking around you; would you sit there all afternoon inhaling second-hand smoke? You would excuse some distance between yourself and the person, and you should do the same when it comes to being troubled by their annoyance. Asking your co-workers how they plan to solve the problem is a concrete method to set boundaries. They would either end the conversation or refocus it in a more beneficial direction.
5. Try finding a common interest
Dealing with an annoying co-worker doesn’t always have to feel like a constant battle. If you have a co-worker whom you can’t tolerate, it’s sometimes a good idea to try to find a common ground with them. Even if it’s just a rant about the taste of coffee in your break room, try to identify something you have in common. Working together will become more pleasant as a result of this.
6. Finally, demonstrate patience when handling the co-workers
Your skills to neutralise annoying people is one of the greatest ones you can possess. The ability to manage your emotions well and remain calm also has a direct link to your performance. Jody Foster gives a good example of this: Consider the narcissistic co-worker who rejects hearing anything that damages their self-esteem. In this case, resist the impulse to react to your annoyance with this co-worker.
Instead, consider other strategies such as writing your name clearly on documents of a work or incorporating a third party in your brainstorming sessions. Another good method, according to Foster, is to sandwich a criticism between two compliments.
As the workplace expert Lynn Taylor points out, “Avoid the temptation to lament over the chaos with your colleagues, as word could spread, ruining your chances to resolve the issue properly,”