Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee that you’ll find a work wife wherever you go. But there is a chance at some point in your career that you’ll work alongside a colleague who is nothing short of a little difficult (we’re being diplomatic here).
For anyone who has ever dealt with moody, unprofessional team members, we understand how it can make you dread going to work. So what exactly can you do about it? Well, we’ve got a couple of suggestions up our sleeve…
Sometimes we all just need to calm the fuck down. It’s important to remember losing your temper isn’t going to help the situation. In fact, it will probably just make you seem a little crazy. Not only is staying calm far more professional than flailing your arms about, yelling, and crying (perhaps all at once) but when you appear calm, you’re seen as in control and respectable. As an added bonus, when the person you are dealing with sees you are calm despite whatever they’re doing, you’re far more likely to capture their attention.
Keep your grievances private
Gossip spreads like wildfire, particularly when it comes to the office. It is not only hella unprofessional to be caught badmouthing a colleague, but it will just make you look bad in the long run. Don’t share your private problems with team members publicly. Instead, keep your complaining reserved for those who work outside of your office.
Don’t overthink it
Let’s be honest, from time to time we all fall victim to overthinking. Are you sure you’re not just making a mountain out of a molehill? Sometimes the best approach to a situation of conflict is to give it some breathing room. Sit back, take a long hard look at it and ask your friends or fam (thank god for mum) what they would do. Don’t think we’re not on your side, but overthinking a situation can make it a whole lot worse than it is.
Make them your friend
Ever heard of killing someone with kindness? Well now is the time to exercise that approach. In the workplace these days it’s common for emails to replace a good old fashioned chat. Don’t let your dependence on the net let you forget your people skills! Perhaps it’s time to invite your work foe with you on your coffee run? Keep your communication warm and casual (even when it comes to email) so that you can better connect on a personal level.
Talk to them
Perhaps addressing the elephant in the room may help you to nip it in the bud. Invite your difficult colleague for a quick coffee or a five-minute catch-up where you can discuss how you feel. It’s important to note that there is a big difference between approaching someone and confronting them. This ain’t about taking out your hoops for an ass-whoopin’ but gently and professionally addressing the issue at hand. To keep it out of the wrestling ring, try to avoid aggressive language like ‘you do this’ replacing it with ‘I feel this way’.
Much like when it comes to a bully in the schoolyard, don’t lower yourself down to their level. Treat others as you would like to be treated, even if said others aren’t being very nice at all. If you continue to treat someone with respect, they’ll do the same in return (or at least we should bloody well hope so!).
Know when to call it quits
What we mean is, know when the situation is not just about immature behaviour, but inappropriate behaviour. Speak to HR or your manager if you believe the way you are being treated is harassment.
Words of advice by Sarah Bristow.