Everybody has that one person in mind. It feels like there’s almost always that one employee who never comes to work on time, eats their smelly food at their desk , or tends to make offhanded remarks while at work. While you should always strive to build strong working relationships with your fellow co-workers, sometimes those workplace relationships can’t grow without resolving the inevitable conflicts that arise when working with other people.
While complaining at every turn may not be the best way for you to resolve the situation, there are several things you can do to ease the tension without gaining the reputation of being the workplace crier. Here are some ways you can let your co-worker know how annoying they are without getting them in trouble or you looking like a squealer.
Make it Better Before it Gets Worse
More often than not, problems or issues that are ignored and unaddressed can build up until they explode into a less than professional situation for you. It’s far better to address the difficult person while maintaining some objectivity and emotional control. Take the time to understand why you feel this way and how your co-worker’s behavior can affect productivity.
If you don’t handle it on your own and go straight to management with your issues, it can tarnish your image of being promotable. Managers will wonder why you’re not able to resolve the issue, which will make them wonder if you have the ability and understanding to lead and make difficult decisions for the company.
One of the easiest ways to resolve an issue with a co-worker is to be a friend. After all, you are trying to look out for your employer and your co-worker’s best interest. Pull your co-worker aside and mention that they’re breaking a rule. If a colleague is using foul language in the workplace, tell them that their manager is bound to hear it at some point. This kind of method helps you communicate a minor complaint without putting the spotlight on yourself.
Sometimes you have to be direct, but with a pleasant and agreeable attitude when talking to your co-worker. Try discussing how their actions make you feel. If a co-worker keeps coming in late, explain why you have to put off your lunch breaks to cover for them. Unfortunately, some difficult people just don’t care. During the discussion, try to reach an agreement about positive and supportive actions going forward. Then, make sure to follow up with the co-worker to see if any progress has been made.
When in Doubt, Reach Out
If you’ve done all you can on your own, it might be time to call for some help. Consider rallying other employees who might also have an issue with the annoying co-worker. But be careful with this approach. Other employees might not have put the same tact and effort into their confrontation with the co-worker. Sometimes, a group approach can make your manager think that the impact of the behavior is wider and deeper than originally determined. Be careful with this approach, however. Know what works with your boss.
If you have to go to a manager, try going to the co-workers direct supervisor so the situation won’t escalate too far. If you do go to upper management, make sure your complaints are valid and it is a serious enough offense that disciplinary action should be taken. When talking to the manager, make sure you include a good amount of praise for the co-worker. Explain how you tried to work things out, but it didn’t get anywhere.
Make it Productive
Before talking to management about the situation, figure out if there are any flaws or areas of improvement in your employer’s policy and procedures. Maybe better training or scheduling is needed to avoid situations. Focusing on the root of the problem and offering ideas to fix the situation can make a great impression on your boss and is more effective than complaining. It turns you from a whiner into a problem solver. No boss on the planet is going to be upset when you go to them with a solution.
Sometimes it can be difficult to address conflicts in the workplace, but they don’t have to be as dreadful if you keep a positive attitude and put the focus on improving the situation and not on your complaints. What are some ways you have dealt with annoying co-workers? Let us know in the comments below.