We’ve all probably had to work closely with someone we consider to be annoying. You could have colleagues who are lazy, arrogant, or are a bit of a show-off; but you still need to manage the relationship with them and get the job done. While you can’t change the behaviour of your colleagues, you can manage how you react and respond to them. Here are some tips that can help:

  • Have a positive attitude

Instead of letting every little thing your co-workers do get to you, learn to let things roll off your back. Dwelling on the negative would only hamper your productivity at work. It’s important to stay focused on what you need to accomplish and if the worker in question is truly a problem, then you’ll have to address the situation.

  • Take a timeout

The most effective way to prevent yourself from doing or saying something you would regret later is to remove yourself from the space for a few minutes. Taking a timeout doesn’t mean you should go hide in a corner and or count to ten out loud but talking to a loved one or taking a walk for a few minutes should do the trick. Nothing good usually comes from being emotional at work. It’s also important to remember not to send out emails or make official calls in the heat of the moment so as not to leave paper trails of your frustration.

  • Be direct

Sometimes the best way to approach an annoying co-worker situation is to simply confront them directly. It’s possible that your co-worker might not realize that they are annoying and are oblivious to the effect their behavior is having on other people. This might be because nobody has been able to tell them how annoying they are. You have to be confident, polite, and assertive when confronting them.

  • Be diplomatic

If you’ve assessed the situation and realised that being direct may not be the best way to go, then you should learn to be diplomatic. Learn how to communicate in such a way that you don’t come off as rude and completely shut down communication

  • Find a common interest

Instead of focusing all your mental energy on how your co-worker constantly annoys you, try to find at least one thing you have in common. It could be something you both have or like, say a pet or something you both dislike. Finding spots of common interest would make it easier for you to work with them.

  • Take the high road

Sometimes, make an effort to lighten up the environment. This could be by inviting your colleague out to lunch or taking a short walk with them and starting up a conversation that isn’t about work.

  • Look within

It’s important to do some self-examination to be sure that you are not the problem. Analyse your reaction to different situations. Do you get irritated when they are appreciated at work? Or you just don’t like the fact that they are always cheerful and happy. It could be that you are insecure and you fear that you are not good enough and that could be clouding the way you see your co-worker. Instead of getting angry at them, try to learn from them.

  • Kill them with kindness.

If you are dealing with a bully or a gossip, it’s important to always remain calm and be kind to them. If you notice they are purposely going out of their way to bring you down, don’t let them. Avoid arguments with them as this could have a negative impact on you at work. Just keep smiling and continue with your work as usual.

  • It’s okay to vent.

Just don’t vent to a co-worker, as that might be considered to be workplace gossip. Venting is a good way to release some of the stress of having to deal with an annoying person. Look for someone outside work to let it all out to. This would help you feel better and also give you another perspective on the situation.

  • Use your reaction as feedback.

Question your reaction to that person and what it teaches you about yourself. Does the person’s lack of organisational skills point out how organised you are? Is this a trait you can build on to boost your career growth? Or does their behaviour trigger some insecurities you might want to work on? Instead of getting bent out of shape over their behaviour, leverage the discomfort they cause you to practice self-awareness, and become a better leader in the process.


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