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10 Tips on How to Deal with Difficult Co-Workers

Updated on August 11, 2017
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David has over 10 years supervisory experience and has extensive knowledge in how to handle personnel issues across many areas.

Your bad co-worker may also see you as a bad co-worker through their eyes.
Your bad co-worker may also see you as a bad co-worker through their eyes. | Source

Handling Bad Co-Workers

A co-worker is someone you work with at your job. It can be someone in your organization that you talk to on the phone, see in passing on the way to your office, or someone in the cubicle next to yours that you work with on a daily basis.

Someone could be a bad co-worker just because you see them that way. That doesn't mean they are truly bad, it just means you have to approach them differently.

This article covers how you can handle toxic co-workers, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of having co-workers just to give you some perspective.

Angry Co-Worker

It's important to try to work together with your co-workers, not against them.
It's important to try to work together with your co-workers, not against them. | Source

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Tips on Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers

Below are some tips when dealing with your co-workers:

  1. Don't take sides. If there is an argument or disagreement between co-workers, don't take sides. If your boss intervenes, advise your boss of what happened. Taking sides only creates rifts in the workplace.
  2. Avoid office gossip. You can't believe everything you hear, and that goes double for office gossip. While there could be a hint of truth in the gossip, engaging in it only makes you look bad and causes some hurt feelings.
  3. Don't brown-nose. If your co-workers see you fawning over your boss, they will see you as a brown-noser. This may seem like you will turn them in for anything, which leads to the next point.
  4. Be honest about your co-workers mistakes. A lot of people don't want to be the tattletale in the office. They see a co-worker doing something wrong, but they don't wish to report it. The problem with that is that it makes it worse, and can make the job harder on you. Typically difficult co-workers are bad workers.
  5. Don't share your social network information. If you post a picture on Twitter or Facebook of you dancing on a table while drunk, you can be sure others will see that photo. It would make you look bad.
  6. Be careful how you socialize with your co-workers. Seeing your co-workers at a company event is acceptable, but be very careful of going drinking with a co-worker. You never know what could happen that damages your reputation or even costs you your job.
  7. Help your new co-workers. Even if someone is trained in a certain profession, they may not be trained in how your organization does things. So show them the ropes of the office. They will appreciate it later on and will feel more at ease.
  8. Be nice to your co-workers. You never know who could become your future boss, so always treat your co-workers with respect. They will remember this in the future and treat you with the same courtesy.
  9. Do favors for your co-workers. Lets say one of your co-workers wants a day off and needs you to cover for them. Go ahead and do it. You can cash that favor in at a later time when you need some time off.
  10. Look out for yourself. While you want to help and be friendly to your co-workers, you need to look out for yourself. A good supervisor will judge you on your performance, and not what your co-workers say about you. So you need to ensure you do your job and not let your co-workers do anything to mess that up.

Notice a lot of these don't involve what to do against your bad co-worker. Most of these tips involve being careful so you don't give this bad co-worker ammunition to use against you. On top of that, you kill them with kindness, making you the better person overall.

Building Good Relationships with Co-Workers

Having a unified workplace with your co-workers is the best.
Having a unified workplace with your co-workers is the best. | Source

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Advantages of Having Co-Workers

There are some great advantages to having co-workers in the office:

  • Helps the day go by faster. If you get along with your co-workers, then it makes the day go by so much faster because you can talk to them, share stories, and have a good time. It doesn't make work seem so much like work when you are having a good time.
  • Can spread the work around. If the workload is particular heavy that day, your co-workers can help make up the difference and spread the work around. You can rely on each of their strengths to get the work done that much faster.
  • Learn from your co-workers. Each of your co-workers bring in unique experiences and knowledge to the workplace. You can learn from that to make yourself a better employee.
  • Could end up with a new best friend, or a partner! You could end up socializing with your co-workers after your shift ends. You may end up dating someone you meet at work and find the person you are meant to be with.
  • Provides unity in the workplace. The bigger your organization, the more employees will be hired by that organization. If you want a raise, want to become unionized, etc. then having more co-workers with the same ideas works in your favor.

Jobs For Those Who Don't Want Co-Workers

Web Page Designers
Graphic Designers
Private Investigators
Interior Designers
Truck Driver
Internet Professions
Janitorial/House Cleaning
Most graveyard shift jobs
Examples of professions that would have a limited amount of co-workers. Some are fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have no co-workers at all.
Co-workers can back-stab you at the drop of a hat.
Co-workers can back-stab you at the drop of a hat. | Source

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Disadvantages of Having Co-Workers

Unfortunately there are disadvantages in dealing with co-workers in the workplace:

  • Not all are at the same skill level. You may be able to process 30 reports in a day, but a co-worker may only be able to process 20. So more pressure can be put on you just because you have the ability to get more done, allowing your co-worker to not do as much.
  • Personal drama infests the workplace. Despite being told not to, most co-workers bring their personal problems into the workplace. While others try to sympathize, everyone has their own personal problems to contend with.
  • Co-workers can be a distraction. Some of your co-workers may try to socialize too much, talk on the phone a lot, etc. It can serve as a distraction in the workplace and prevents you from getting your job done.
  • They could try to stab you in the back. If there is a job promotion available, your co-workers could try to spread vicious rumors about you behind your back in an effort to get the promotion. Or they could brown-nose your boss so they can be promoted.
  • Those who earn more money may treat you like dirt. Those in other positions may treat you like you are below them just because they earn more money or have more responsibility.

Difficult Co-Workers

© 2013 David Livermore


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    • torrilynn profile image

      torrilynn 4 years ago


      i agree with you on some of the benefits and cons of working with others

      sometimes you might not always agree on the same thing or they simply just

      don't like you there are plenty of variables anyway thanks for the information

      Voted up