Everyone is different but every workplace is bound to fill with all kinds of different personalities of which the annoying ones are similar. Rest assured that you are not alone. Studies has shown that 15% of people leave their jobs because of co workers. Some of us actually spend more time with co workers than our own family members so it is probably worthwhile to figure out some strategies to deal with them. Learning how to deal with difficult people is an excellent way of honing leadership skill sand becoming a better person as well.
1. The office politics rumor mill
Gossiping is one of the favorite past time of office workers and there are many who thrive on spreading unnecessary rumors about co workers seeking to bring them down. Gossiping about others is energy draining and participating in it can damage professional reputation.
The one simple strategy to deal with is to acknowledge and divert.
There are truly some who have been hurt and just need a listening ear and some who simply want to spread malicious lies about others. It is difficult to distinguish between the two and there isn’t a need to. Say things like “I am sorry for your predicament” or “I am sure that is very frustrating” allows you to acknowledge their feelings without agreeing or disagreeing with it. Focus on them and not the subject they are talking about.
The next thing you really need to do is to change the topic and divert their attention away from the subject they started with. Choosing positive subjects or things that they like to do to take their focus to away from negativity. It can be like “I heard about your new project success, tell me more about it.” or “How did you spend the last weekend?”.
Of course there are those who will insist on staying on their subject and when it is time to put your foot down to make a point, you should by gently reminding them that “I think that is an issue you should perhaps consider taking it up directly with Clarrisa.”
2. The end of world negative person
Then there are co-workers who always like to play the victim card as if the entire company and every single person is out to hurt them. There are also those who like to work long hours but end up complaining about lack of work life balance. There are also those who like to shoot down and criticize every single idea during a discussion.
Don’t let their negativity get to you. Stay true to your personal values. Don’t work long hours just to enable the “productivity trap”. Think about the positive sides of why things happen the way they do. For the idea shooters during meetings, turn it around and ask “That is an interesting opinion, how can we all make sure that this project is a success?”.
3. The co-worker that likes to delegate
Everything seems to be every one else’s job but theirs. These are the people who can somehow manage to delegate their duties to other under the guise of ignorance, convenience or power play. They will try to link the task on hand to what you are doing and make seem like it is part of your job to provide this value added service to them. When required, they will guilt-trip you saying that you shouldn’t be lazy and avoid the additional work to get things done as a team. Or there is a matter of convenience saying that since it is by the way, you might as well be a nice person and help out. Some will go to your boss and attempt to get the tasks reallocated to you due to workload or relationship.
There are occasions that you want to be nice and do a favor which is fine. Make sure this is communicated clearly that it is a one off and out of good will.
In cases where it is obviously not your job, stand your ground and be firm. If it happens once, it will happen twice. Engage the perpetrator directly and deflect them with logic and reasoning. If all else fails, speak to your manager about it.
Survival is key but a little empathy can also go a long way sometimes.