Fix My Job: Co-workers

Every workplace has its share of really irritating co-workers. And since you are spending 40 hours (or more!) a week with them, they can affect your mood, your health, your ability to succeed at work, even your family life – as we tend to carry workplace stress home with us.

Workplace incivility also affects the business’s bottom line. Scholars report that “a rude, disrespectful, uncivil climate at work can make workers miserable, resulting in higher turnover, lower productivity, and lost customers.”

How to deal with that annoying co-worker

First, let’s be clear that when we say “annoying,” we are talking about low-intensity antisocial behavior: rudeness, insensitivity, and disrespect. If you feel like you are the target of systematic aggressive behavior, check the Fix My Job for Bullying . If you are being Harassed or Discriminated  against, see the appropriate sections.

What to do about those co-workers who are just rude, loud, complainy, or smelly?

Here’s what not to do. Don’t let them in your head or under your skin. Don’t try to get revenge. Don’t attempt to out-obnoxious them. Don’t gang up on them, forming groups of co-workers to ostracize them.

Usually, the answer is to calmly and respectfully address the problem directly with the perpetrators. They are likely unaware of their behavior and the effect they are having on others. Lots of advice columns will give you suggestions for dealing with different types of annoyance; we like this one, by Tim Clancy from Minority Nurse magazine. He’s got common-sense ideas on how to handle annoyers of all types: the Motormouth, the Sourpuss, the Superstar, and more.

Of course, your co-workers’ annoying habits might well be a response to a stressful, dysfunctional workplace. Bad conditions often cause employees to “act out” – fussbudgets fuss more, barbarians loose more barbs. If this is the case, get together with a group of co-workers you do like and see if you can figure out a way to address the negative underlying conditions. That’s the kind of thing that’s hard to do on your own. And your efforts just might make things better for you and for the Grump.

Useful Links

Advice column: “Annoying Co-workers and Dangerous Co-workers ” from Minority Nurse

Advice column: “How to Deal With Annoying Coworkers ” from Forbes

Advice column: Dealing with Annoying Co-Workers ” from Reuters

Advice column: “How to Deal With Annoying Co-Workers ” from US News & World Report



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