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How to Build a Great Work Relationship Despite Challenges

Updated on July 20, 2018

Discover how to build a great work relationship despite challenges


Everyone remembers them with a laugh a little bit of anger and really did I just go through that for that long? Remember that first job after college, the one you wanted to get in order to get working experience, create connections and get the “feel” of the job market,save enough to do one thing or the other etc..

Well there must have been three types on colleagues you met

The Boss Relation

In this case we apply the word relative quite loosely. In fact this might mean a distant relation, or family friend who feel the need to drop the words “my aunt/ uncle/dad / godfather/brother” in every conversation.

They are great at hanging around not really doing tasks to completion and ever chirpy even on a cold Monday morning. And I forgot annoying as hell when trying to beat deadlines. Woe unto you if you fall on their bad side, so I am going to tell you how to deal with such without it trying to seem like you are competing for the boss’sattention.

In this case this applies to where the relation is an intimidator. Or they might be unethical in their business practises. Or even contrary to all expectations try to play the victim due to their apparent relation to the boss. Oh he knows what top management saying since his relative has told him especially on promotion, pay raises and bonuses. Oh he will report you on that time you did this and that and reporting hereby means whisper to your boss who is his relation. Oh the reason you are uncooperative is because you are not happy that he is related to the boss and are envious. Do not fall for their tricks and don’t lose your cool.

First rule of thumb when dealing with a fraudster is always collects documented evidence. And if you are in such a situation it might be time to ship out before the boat capsizes. Also raise awareness of your work to senior management at all available opportunities, backing it up with facts- cold hard facts. In the case where the colleague tries to intimidate you be polite and calm and tell them that you will not stand for such tactics and if they continue it might be time to involve Human resources.

The Newsroom/Office Noticeboard/Drama Queen of King

If they don’t know about it’s a secret hidden in a bunker somewhere where no more than three people have the access codes. Yet all they know are half-truths very much embellished and told with such flair they missed a career in acting. Well, and they own shares in, poor you if your car, kids, spouse, gym membership,mortage plan, salary, sense of fashion is better than theirs. Somehow their chatty self always tries to start conversation of no consequence and they can be quite unaware of the emotional impact their words carry. What can I say we all know them and can mention quite a few names off the top of our heads?

Limit conversation with such people. If caught in the endless loop of a retelling that could rival a play at Broadway, push for real answers like” It doesn’t make sense that so and so could do that. Did it happen like that?” “You all know what it’s like to go through that; don’t you think that it’s unfair and insensitive?”

Set boundaries, certain topics should be no go zones with such people. State clearly and as politely as possible that you do not want to discuss this and do not refer to it in future. Pretend to understand and rationalize that they have a right to their opinion (damaging as it may be) and calmly stop the conversation.


Mr. Know It ALL

Here be Einstein’s brother/ sister from another mother. They have worked there for longer than you so they know what they are saying however insensible. They are so competent that they are at the same level for years despite their colleagues advancing on the career ladder. They will collect your mistakes and use them to create chaos. They will reply all e-mails, copying the whole world on a non-issue. They will stop by your desk and offer criticism often non constructive. They will contradict you at meetings despite the facts being white and black on paper.

Be impersonal, half of what they say is actually useful. Pointedly ignore the rest either by changing subject or walking to the printer etc.

Have a sense of humour and pick the battles you want to fight; it might be impossible to actually avoid confrontation at times.Through your actions and words show that you are not interested in winning the imagined superiority contest.


No matter what you face, be bold, and courageous enough to fight the battle and eventually you will win. Remember having a positive attitude can help you achieve more than you can imagine!


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