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How to Cope at Work When You Don't Get on with a Co-Worker

April 2 2020 - Work takes up a large part of your life, so you're likely to spend more time during waking hours with co-workers than with your own family. If you like your co-workers, then even a stressful job can be enjoyable, but if there's someone you don't get along with, then even if you like your job, it can be a nightmare. That's why it's important to resolve disagreements at work as soon as possible, so if you don't get on with a co-worker, here are some steps you can take to resolve things and cope at work.

Look at your own behavior

While you may feel slighted by your co-worker, or feel they are being argumentative or petty, it's worth considering whether your own behavior could be contributing to the problem. Consider whether you are behaving professionally in the workplace. Are you letting others shoulder your work? Are you being a little too friendly and irritating co-workers? Take constructive criticisms on board and see if a small change in your behavior improves your relationship.

Don't talk about them negatively to others

Badmouthing your colleague to others at work is likely to make you look like the bad guy. Avoid fixating on their behavior and gossiping to others, or you'll be the one who gets a bad reputation at work.

Learn conflict resolution techniques

Workplace conflict is common, so it's important to learn techniques that'll help you deal with difficult situations. The training provider offers articles on how to deal with conflict resolution, and it's worth taking a course to learn this skill set if you can. From active listening to staying on track with the subject at hand, employing conflict resolution techniques can help you enjoy better working relationships.

Know when to go to your boss

There's a line between not getting on with someone at work and being bullied by them. If you think you're a victim of workplace bullying, then it's important to raise it with your boss, or take it straight to HR if you can't confide in them.

Some types of workplace bullying include:

  • Having your work sabotaged
  • Constant, unnecessary criticism
  • Being frozen out or excluded
  • Defamatory remarks based on your physical appearance, sexuality, marital status, race or any protected characteristic
  • Being pressured to perform under too strict deadlines or with inadequate resources

Bullying can take many forms, and usually follows a pattern of behavior. If you think that your disagreement goes beyond a personal issue and may be bullying, it's important to escalate your concern.

Stay calm and treat them with kindness

The worst thing you can do, if there's a personal issue between you and a co-worker, is to be sarcastic, rude or mean back to them. Always try to stay calm and professional, even if they are irritating, and speak and write to them using a kind tone. You never know, they just might come around to you.

Whether you're the new person in the office, or you've been there a while and resentments have brewed, it's not nice to fall out with a co-worker. If this happens, try to resolve the issue quickly, but if things fester, you may need to look at ways to resolve the conflict, such as going to your boss.

What Color Is Your Parachute?

What Color Is Your Parachute? 2022: A Practical Manual for Job-Hunters and Career-Changers
by Richard Nelson Bolles and Katherine Brooks
With more than 10 million copies sold in 28 countries, the world's most popular job-search book is updated for 2022. Katherine Brooks tailors the late Richard Bolles's long-trusted guidance with up-to-the-minute information and advice for today's job-hunters and career-changers.
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