Chances are, if you have worked in an office with colleagues and other employees, you have come across one of two frustrating co-workers over your career. Frustrating co-workers can come in all shapes and sizes, and the cause of your frustration can be anything from an annoying habit they may have, to work ethic issues, to fundamental personality differences.
Regardless of the cause of your angst, there are several techniques to ease the pain of working with a frustrating co-worker. Though the co-worker may not disappear, applying some or all of the following techniques can make dealing with troublesome colleagues much easier.
- Identify the issue
This is important. One of the first steps in solving issues with frustrating co-workers is identify exactly what it is that makes them the bane of your existence. Is it their haircut? The way they interact with others in the office? Is it how they are always 4 minutes late in the mornings? Or do they respond to simple email inquiries with long-winded essays, touching upon irrelevant (and frankly, obnoxious) topics like the weather and Cornucopia? Regardless of the reason, it’s important to identify the cause of your angst, so that you can prepare to avoid said issue during the day.
- Take a breather in the break room
If it is difficult to avoid frustrating co-workers throughout the day – perhaps you work in the same area of the office – it is time to begin looking at the kitchen or break room as a place of refuge and sanctuary. Engage in quick conversations with other colleagues to take your mind off of your angst. Grab a cup of coffee and perform a few meditative breathing exercises. Essentially, use the break room as a cocoon of positive vibes, and do everything you can to return to your workspace exuding positivity and vibrant energy.
- Confide in a friend outside of work
What are friends for if not for talking about gripes about frustrating colleagues over a drink or four on the weekend? Needless to say, one of the best ways to alleviate some of the pain of dealing with a frustrating colleague every day of the week is to rant and vent to a trusted ally. You never know, your friend may see the situation from a different perspective and provide you with insights and an angle disputing your version of events.
- Mitigate using humor
Very few situations in life are not remedied with a spot of humor. When you take yourself too seriously, you run the risk of squashing any spontaneity or humor you may naturally possess. It can be easy to come off as the “bad guy” in workplace conflict situations if you are always the serious one. The next time you encounter a situation with your workplace nemesis, try to alleviate some of the frustration with an off-hand joke.
- Anticipate (like a ninja)
If having to come up with a joke seems too taxing or time consuming, your remaining option is to anticipate situations before they arise. Training your mind to anticipate situations that could cause frustration – like a ninja – will take some planning. Spend a day or two observing your colleague’s movement patterns and create a game plan to avoid at all cost. If you have to meet with the frustrating colleague, anticipate verbiage that could cause you angst and mentally prepare to enter the conversation or meeting with thick skin.
Have you had to deal with a frustrating colleague at work? Have a great story of ninja-like anticipation and avoidance? Let us know in the comments section below!