Unfortunately, difficult co-workers are present in every working environment. They come in many different varieties and can affect your work life in multiple different ways.

How difficult they are to deal with, however, completely depends on your self-esteem and confidence, as well as your professionalism at work.

Dealing with difficult co-workers is much easier when they are just generally obnoxious or if their behaviour is affecting more than one person.

Dealing with them directly is much more likely to affect you if they are personally attacking you or if you work closely together.

Learning how to deal with difficult co-workers is vital in progressing through your work life and is an important skill to build on for your own sake.

Why You Must Deal With Difficult Co-Workers

Your situation will not get better if you leave it.

Unaddressed situations are very likely to get worse rather than better. And conflict will begin to simmer and may lead to an unsightly eruption at work which will make the situation a lot worse.

Initially, people tend to go into shock if they are treated in an unprofessional manner or are having bullying behaviour directed towards them.

It’s important to take some time out to assess and understand what exactly is happening at work.

Once you have acknowledged the situation, you shouldn’t live with it long-term. Keeping it bottled up will mean that your feelings will fester and develop, leaving you miserable when it comes to going into work.

You may become so angry and be hurt to the point that your efforts to address the situation will become completely irrational.

It’s better to address the difficult person early on whilst trying to maintain physical and emotional control of the situation.

How Difficult Co-Workers May Be Affecting Your Health

Workplace stress is an issue which is causing problems all over the world.

This stress can be caused by a number of different factors and events, for example, too much job pressure or the actions from a difficult co-worker.

Remember, what one person may find challenging, another may find unbearable. We are all different and our personal experiences affect the way we deal with stress, particularly at work.

Work-related stress can present itself in a wide variety of different symptoms.

From extreme tiredness to stomach upsets, your health can be greatly affected by stress and should not be left to progress for long periods of time.

You may also feel isolated, less motivated or even take your work problems home with you, affecting your home life.

It’s vital that you look after your health during difficult periods at work.

Taking health supplements, eating well and doing regular exercise will all decrease the chances of extreme symptoms developing.

Trying to find something, such as exercise, to focus on out of work will allow your brain to switch off after a long day and will give you something to look forward to.

If you can, speak to your HR department about your health concerns, especially if you feel you are unable to discuss the issues you are experiencing at work. They may be able to arrange some help or allow you to take some time off sick.

How to Deal With Difficult Co-Workers

If you’ve been working for a while, then you may have experienced multiple workplaces throughout your career.

You’ll know from experience that each place is different and there are plenty of different ways you can deal with challenging behaviour.

When it comes to actually knowing how to  deal with difficult co-workers, you must do it productively so that you don’t end up coming under fire for your reciprocal actions.

Firstly, you must step back and take a logical look at the situation.

Be sure that you have all the facts in order before you move forward with any further actions.

Check that you are not overreacting, which can be easy to do if you are experiencing stress or issues in other areas of your life.

If you, or others, have experienced difficulty with this co-worker before, look into whether they are the same actions or behaviors.

There may be a pattern for their behavior.

Speak to other colleagues if they have also been affected by their actions and discuss how they went about challenging them.

Make sure that you make someone at work aware of what you are going through. A close colleague or a manager that you trust are always going to be welcoming to hearing about issues you are having at work.

Sit with them and work through the options you have to confront the behavior.

If you are the object of their behavior, or if a manager or boss seems to support these actions, then it can be difficult to find someone to turn to. So having someone you can confide in is extremely important in moving forward.

Getting Additional Help

If you feel that you have done all you comfortably can in dealing with the situation and have been met with little to no success, then it is time to involve others.

A manager, HR department or even the CEO are the best avenues to go down.

They will be concerned that a member of staff is having issues and it is their duty to help you resolve them. You must be aware that you are escalating the situation in this scenario, so you must be prepared to openly talk with your boss.

Take notes of the behavior and how this is affecting your work productivity, personal life and general well-being.

Tell your boss exactly what is happening and why this is having an impact on your work life.

Be sure to make a plan with them for how to deal with difficult co-workers.

If you work in different departments, then the co-worker’s boss may also be involved. It’s important to recognize that a good boss is likely to include your difficult co-worker and their line manager or boss in a four-way discussion about the situation. Be prepared to be involved and participate.

If other colleagues have been affected, be sure to make your boss aware of this when you go to them, but carefully.

Often, a group approach can make your boss aware that the co-worker’s behavior is wider than they thought, but you must approach this tactic carefully.

You want to solve this problem and if approached the wrong way, it can look as though you are causing issues and ganging-up on another employee.

About The Author

Natalie Wilson is a freelance writer for many different business publications. She is now specializing in workplace health and disputes and is currently researching and working closely with different health brands for this, including Nutri Advanced.