Working in any working environment, specifically, in an office setting means that you will or have dealt with a diverse group of people and getting along with all of them can pose a challenge. We all know that when people are hard to get along with that may mean missed deadlines and lower productivity.
Different people need to be dealt with in different ways and as human beings; you would work differently with a touch-feely person versus a no-nonsense type of person.
Find out how other people work and adapt accordingly
I will be starting a new (full-time) job out of college come this June and I will be on a probationary period for the first three months. If you are in the same situation as me, beginning a new position, take that time to get to the know the office. What I like most about the place that I will be working is that it is so diverse. You have graphic designers, web designers, and a plethora of other departments! You have to take it upon yourself to find out if someone would rather be emailed than have you drop by his or her office, or vice versa, take notes. Do your best in keeping from interrupting other people’s processes and you will be looked at as a team player. Find out what personality types people have, and adapt your behavior towards them accordingly.
Everything is not a battle
When you make the decision to engage in a workplace conflict, it delays productivity and people become stressed. You need to decide what your priorities are, and let all the other things go. Not everything has to be a battle or conflict. Being smart when deciding to fight your battles.
Realize when everyone is in this together
A variety of workplace personalities can be great! It allows for the flow of different opinions, ideas and points of view. It is very important to remember that everyone is working towards making the company’s mission come to light. When people are passionate and express their opinions, it means they care.
For the most part, individuals are cyclical in the workplace. They get into the groove of things. Make it a point to prepare yourself to a certain behavior, you’ve won half the battle already. Play out the situation in your mind, with a friend or in the mirror, and come up with a solution that will resolve the issue in a mature and rational way.
Don’t take it to heart
I find that removing my emotions from any workplace situations helps with being more productive and not getting my feelings hurt. This doesn’t mean I become a robot, it simply means that you are mature enough to understand that this is a business and without emotional maturity, you may be the weakest link that is letting everyone down. More often than not, people act the wya they do because of something personal that is going on with them. The same thing goes for difficult co-workers. It likely doesn’t have much to do with you, even though it may feel that way. It doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it can help to explain why it may be happening. Find some common ground somewhere in there. At the very least help you exist together civilly.
Above all, people just want to make sure they are being heard. People have different areas of expertise, that’s the value of working on a team. One person can’t know it all or do it all, so everyone needs to respect each other’s strengths and weaknesses.
Some Common Problem Personalities in the Workplace
These individuals resist direction, they think they are always right and know what’s best and they ignore even the nicest of advice or suggestions. Not only do they do not need to improve, they think everyone should consider themselves lucky to work with them.
How to Deal:
- Check your own ego at the door; having a head to head with them is usually not worth the time and energy.
- Be assertive; don’t let a bully win.
- Distance yourself; deal with them in small amounts then walk away.
It can be hard to deal with gossiping co-workers, as you can’t really control what people talk about. But gossip is bad for the work environments (it’s also just bad outside of work as well, I digress); it leads to distrust and hurt feelings.
How to Deal:
- If someone comes to you with a juicy bit of info, don’t bite. Lead by example.
- Deal with the specific offenders, not the entire office as a whole. Maybe ask the offender to lunch to talk things over.
- If it is gossip about you, you must say something, in a professional manner, of course.
The Grumpy Gus
Hearing someone complain Monday through Friday can be very exhausting for anyone, and can crush the office morale.
How to Deal:
- Provide constructive suggestions to their specific complaints. If they are complaining about something in particular, say, “well, we can solve that by…”
- Confront them in private to have a discussion about their attitude. Maybe they truly don’t realize they complain so much, or how much it affects everyone else in the office.
You’re bound to have a variety of personality types in the workplace, there are always going to be people that don’t get along or individuals that are much harder for you to deal with. But arming yourself with some of these strategies, hopefully, can help you deal with any difficult coworker that comes your way.
A majority of the information provided has been through my own personal experiences in the workplace, but to fill in to form complete ideas I used todaymagazine.com.