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Keys to dealing with colleagues that make your life difficult

If you haven't had to deal with a difficult colleague yet, be aware because it happens to all of us sooner or later. Unfortunately, it is very common to have a colleague who makes your life more difficult. In fact, the situation can become so bad that you don't want to go to work in the morning.

If you are in this situation or think you could be in the future, consider these key points to deal with the issue successfully and come out on top.

"We need to talk"

The reason why your colleague has become unbearable is not important. If you find yourself in this situation, you must talk to them. "The only way to successfully address and resolve this type of situation is to make the person see the effects of their behavior", explains Alberto Gavlán, Head of Human Resources at Adecco Staffing. Ignoring the matter will only make things worse.

You are toxic and you need to know

Yes. We all know that it is not easy to talk to someone about their negative side. So, to help with this task, Alberto Gavlán offers a three-step guide for talking to a problematic colleague:

  • Communicate clearly and give honest feedback to the individual.
  • Establish a plan with specific measures and commitments for both parties.
  • Set a deadline to implement the changes.

According to Alberto Gavlán, the most important aspect is "the process of communicating with the person and informing them that they are toxic". To do this successfully, it is essential to speak clearly, set aside any personal opinions, and justify your argument with facts.

There is always a higher authority

While you might feel like a tattletale, Gavlán advises speaking with your boss about these kinds of issues. "Any conflict resolution initiatives should originate from your boss. Similarly, it should be your boss who communicates, establishes plans, and supervises the process to make sure changes are made".

How to avoid being the girl from The Exorcist

If you have ever had to deal with a colleague like this (at work or at school), it is important not to let it affect you personally or professionally. To do so, it is vital to address the problem before it is too late. "Any other approaches, such as isolating yourself or avoiding communication with the person in question, will only accentuate the problem and make it even harder to resolve", explains Alberto Gavlán.

Poor you

Now, imagine another situation. A new colleague arrives and, by chance, is assigned the desk next to the unbearable colleague. You might feel like warning your new workmate, but perhaps that's not the best idea.

But, if your intentions are good, why not? As Gavlán explains, "exhibiting this type of behavior with new colleagues is detrimental for two reasons: it gives a very negative image of yourself to your new workmate and only increases your feeling of isolation and the idea that "everyone is against you", which makes finding a solution extremely difficult.

Could it be me?

When you have a problem with everyone, maybe the problem lies with you. Perhaps your jokes are only funny to you. Maybe you crack your knuckles, which gets of people's nerves.

How should you act if you find yourself on the other side? A good approach is to analyze yourself and identify anything that may be annoying for your colleagues.