In a perfect world, we'd love our job and all our colleagues. However, the truth is, people come from all walks of life, and you may not get along with everyone. Here are some starter tips to dealing with the various difficult co-workers you may encounter at your job:
- Micro-manager: It's always better to overreport than to underreport with a micro-manager. Keeping her in the loop may be tiring, but it'll go a long way to assuage her concerns and need for control. It may also deepen the trust between the two of you, which may lead her to relinquish some of her micromanaging ways. Before starting on a project, talk out the nitty-gritty details and what the extent of her involvement will be.
- Disorganized procrastinator: Do you feel like every time you send her an email it gets sucked into a black vortex, never to be seen again? Or maybe you've given up hope on a project that's years overdue. If your colleague lacks structure, you need to give it to her when you work with her. Set deadlines and schedules in your interactions and try to help her be accountable for her actions.
- Ultimate competitor: Any interaction with the ultimate competitor feels like a race to the finish line, but try not to get caught up in it. Do your best to divide work equally, and make sure you give credit where it's due or she might feel threatened. Set boundaries and don't let her attitude affect you. If you're worried about her taking credit for your ideas, keep records of them and try to keep them to yourself until you're able to share it with a larger audience.
- Chatty chipmunk: It's great to get to know a co-worker better, but sometimes hearing about her kids when you have work to do really isn't an ideal situation. If you don't want to be rude, one idea is to get up and continue the conversation while walking to her desk, which she will naturally sit down at. Then continue pleasantries for a bit, before making your goodbyes and heading back.
- Debbie downer: Every other word coming out of her mouth might be a complaint, but don't let it get you down. The worst thing to do in this situation is to commiserate with her because that will only encourage more bad-mouthing. If showering her with positivity doesn't work, try to change the topic when it comes up.
- Backstabber: If your colleague doesn't hesitate to throw you under the bus, try not to give her anything she can work with. Limit your interactions with her and be careful with your actions and words around her. Give neutral responses and do your best to distance yourself. Pick your battles, and don't react to everything she does if they are just minor hindrances and annoyances. When you are dealing with her, try to include others or have records of your conversations by sticking to emails.
These suggestions may not always work, and sometimes, if the environment is too toxic, the best solution may be to find another job. In the meantime, always keep in mind that you should pick your battles and choose your confrontations with care.