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Co-workers behaving badly? You can handle them

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in Office Communication,Workplace Communication

If you work with friendly folk, consider yourself lucky. Nearly a third of employees (29%) say they work with someone who is rude or unprofessional on the job, according to a recent OfficeTeam survey. And the majority of those respondents (59%) say the rude workers are offensive to everyone: peers, subordinates and superiors.

As for those of you who work with boorish co-workers, it could turn out to be a benefit to your career.

“Tactfully handling challenging personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can help someone stand out for all the right reasons,” says Diane Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam.

Here are three of the most common types of difficult co-workers and tips for coping with them:

1. The Belittler. Belittlers routinely tear others down with put-downs and disparaging remarks in order to build themselves up.

Coping strategy: Stand up for yourself, using facts whenever possible. Example: If he shoots down one of your ideas, say, “It worked for X, Y and Z, and it’s also more cost-effective than what we’re doing now.”

2. The Credit Thief. Insecure about their status, Credit Thieves steal your ideas and grab the glory when projects are successful.

Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects you’re working on, and don’t hesitate to correct misperceptions.

3. The Slacker. This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff members because he is “too busy” to help out (yet he will make time for water cooler chats and web surfing).

Coping strategy: Meet as a group to review and document the responsibilities of each member. When working with deadlines, make them visible (with a whiteboard or network calendar).

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