We all have that one co-worker who stays under our skin, writes Mark Goulston of Bottom Line Personal. Here are some tips for handling the day-to-day stresses of a difficult colleague:
• Look for repetition. Start looking for a pattern in their actions. When you know what their usual decisions are, you can better prepare yourself and react rationally.
• Approach the situation positively. Don’t assume that your co-workers are acting this way to deliberately frustrate you. Remind yourself that they might be going through something difficult, and this may be their way of dealing with it.
• Think before you speak. Before immediately reacting to a frustrating situation, think through your words until you reach more rational thoughts. This will ensure that you don’t say something you will later regret and establish you as the calm person in the conversation.
• Use nonconfrontational words. Don’t immediately go on the defense. Instead, use neutral or kind words to figure out what is going on in the situation. This will calm your co-worker, and likely encourage him to speak more positively, too.
• Plan out future solutions. By helping your colleague plan out future solutions, it will shift his focus from dwelling on the now to thinking about a positive future.
— Adapted from “8 Ways to Manage the Impossible Person In Your Life,” Mark Goulston, Bottom Line Personal.