Dealing With Difficult Coworkers

Every job has stresses that come with it. Whether it is getting an assignment done on time or figuring out how to keep your best customer happy, no job is stress free.However, perhaps the most difficult stress to deal with can come from unruly coworkers.Some employees struggle to manage their own job stress and take that out on their fellow coworkers and become difficult to work with. Taking the extra step to understand your coworker’s position might help you bring the stress level down to a bearable level while creating lasting, positive relationships with others.


If you start to have issues with a difficult coworker, ask yourself a few questions. Is there something that you may have done to offend your fellow employee? Are they under extra pressure right now to meet a deadline that is causing them to have a poor attitude? Do they typically struggle with other relationships in the office? Understanding the issues facing your coworker can help you diagnose the problem and move into the assistance stage.

Once you understand what your coworker is going through, try to be as helpful as possible in remedying the situation. If something you did offended your coworker, many times a heartfelt conversation will help you both move past the situation. Explain that you did not mean to offend them, and that you appreciate all they do for the company. If they are going through a stressful time at work, offer any assistance that you can. Sometimes, even an offer of help can create enough goodwill to help heal the relationship or lower the office stress level. If your coworker struggles with relationships in the office, it might make sense to talk to your manager regarding the situation to avoid escalating into further discord.

People like to know that their work is being noticed, and one of the fastest ways to build a positive relationship with somebody is to both acknowledge their hard work and compliment them on something they have done well. Find positive things to talk about, but don’t go overboard so as to avoid sounding fake. Having a genuine conversation with somebody will build your reputation in the office as a peacemaker, while helping you become closer with your coworkers. The more that you are viewed as another person, and not just a coworker, the more likely you are to avoid conflict and confrontations in the future.


There are many ways to deal with difficult coworkers, but keep in mind that not all people want to get along. Eventually, nearly every workplace will deal with the inevitable employee that cannot work well as part of a team. In that case, it is best to keep your distance or talk to your manager about the best way forward. Throughout all of these steps, always be sure to self-diagnose yourself as well. Make sure that you are part of the solution, and not part of the problem.


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