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How to cope with difficult co-workers

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in Centerpiece,Workplace Communication,Workplace Conflict

difficult co-workerIt takes a variety of personalities and work styles to make up a successful workplace, but differences can cause misunderstandings and conflict on the job. To stay productive and professional, you have to learn to handle these differences and use them as a way to do the job better.

Rebecca Thorman, author of the “Kontrary” blog, has five strategies to help you do just that.

1. Serve up feedback sandwich-style. It can be dif­­fi­­cult and discouraging to receive negative feedback, so serve it up be­­tween two slices of positive. Start with something positive, move on to the negative feedback or constructive criticism, and then wrap up with more positive.

2. Ask questions about personal work styles. Some people like to communicate via email while others prefer talking in person. Many people are OK with having conversations at any time while others find that disruptive. Ask those you work with about their preferences and do what you can to accommodate them. Doing so will help you get along with them better, look like a team player and keep projects moving smoothly.

3. Pick your battles wisely. Conflict happens, but it shouldn’t be constant. You need to know when to push and when to just go with the flow. The best employees know that teamwork is key.

4. Remember your shared goal. It can be frustrating when someone wants to do things differently from you, but you should remember that you’re on the same team as your colleagues and you’re all working toward the shared goal of doing the best job you can. Try to focus on that common goal.

5. Respect others’ knowledge and experience. Everyone wants to be heard and feel their expertise is being respected. Include co-workers in discussions about getting things done.

— Adapted from “How to Successfully Work With Different Personalities,” Rebecca Thorman, U.S. News & World Report.

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