How To Handle Bad Coworkers

How To Handle Bad Coworkers

Even if you have the best employer in the world, you could have a bad coworker. There's no way around it; bad coworkers are everywhere. They can make the workplace toxic and your life miserable. Fortunately, you don't need to put up with their actions. With a few simple tips, you can deal with the bad apples of the bunch.

Why Are There Bad Coworkers?

If you want to know how to deal with bad coworkers, you need to understand why they act the way they do. In some cases, the individual is only thinking of themselves. Not all people are capable of working as a team or caring about the people around them.

Other individuals are simply insecure. Because they think little of themselves, they put down everyone else around them. The coworker might complain about you to your boss or spread rumors around the office.

There's also the person who will do anything to get ahead. If they think that speaking ill of you will get them a promotion, they'll do it. This type of coworker can be particularly conniving.

What to Do About It

So, what can you do about bad coworkers? Before you hand in your notice, think about the situation. Is the coworker intentionally sabotaging you, and if so, why? Consider their reasons for causing you grief. If it's a personal vendetta, have a conversation with them. The last thing you want is to quit your job over something that could be resolved with a simple chat.

When you approach the individual, be warm and welcoming. If you're accusatory or angry, you may escalate the situation. Give your coworker an opportunity to explain themselves. The whole situation could be a misunderstanding. It's particularly important to take time to cool off after an incident. When your emotions are high, you might find it difficult to be calm. Take a few days to think about what happened and plan your conversation as much as possible.

The actual conversation might be a difficult one. Before you speak, make sure what you're saying has merit. Don't make baseless accusations or be petty. Instead, cite evidence and speak in a matter-of-fact tone. For instance, your coworker may have spoken to your boss about something you said in confidence. You can say the following, "Last week I was informed that you told our boss about the private conversation we had. I was under the impression that it was private."

It's all about finding a balance between kindness and standing up for yourself. If you can maintain that balance, you may be able to resolve the issue.

Escalating Things

If you try to approach your coworker and things worsen or stay the same, it's time to move forward. The only effective way to do this is to speak with your employer or supervisor. Sometimes, you don't have any other option.  

When you approach someone else, make sure you don't come across as jealous or uncooperative. Think about how a manager might see things from your perspective. Then, plan your conversation accordingly. You should only go to a manager if the situation affects your performance in the workplace. If it's only a personal issue, there's no need to consult with your manager.

Think carefully about how you want to approach the discussion with your manager. If you don't plan your words, you could come across as petty. Proceed with caution, but don't hesitate to stand up for yourself.

Should You Ignore Things?

It's difficult to know whether or not you should ignore a bad coworker. Ultimately, it comes down to your comfort. If the person is truly affecting your performance, there's no reason to put up with it. You should tell your employer before they start to think that you're the problem.

The best thing you can do is to do your work to the best of your ability. If you try to get back at your coworker, you'll only add to the toxic environment. Go to great lengths to be supportive of your colleagues and praise them on a regular basis.

Dealing with Sabotage

If someone is actively sabotaging you, then you need to take action. First, maintain a paper trail. Every time you get a nasty email or text, save it. Make a journal and record all of the times your coworker attempts to sabotage you. While your employer doesn't care about every little issue, they will look at the bigger picture.

You should also document your own responses. If someone tries to engage with you in a negative way, don't take the bait. Be professional and record your response. When a manager looks at the communication, there will be no doubt that you were the one wronged.

Send Updates

Another way to deal with a bad coworker is to update your manager regularly. This is particularly useful when you have a coworker who tries to take credit for your work. If you give your manager updates on your status, they know what you deserve credit for.

Once again, this is about finding a balance. You shouldn't overwhelm your manager with emails or calls. However, it's more than acceptable to send occasional updates.

Be Vigilant

If you know that someone is trying to ruin your career, don't be an open book. Before you speak, consider who is around you. A backstabber will use everything you say against you, so choose your words carefully.

In general, you should be wary about speaking ill of your boss or coworkers. Unless you're very close with someone, you shouldn't trust them not to repeat what you say.

Do You Need a New Workplace?

Under most circumstances, employers are eager to resolve conflicts in the workplace. But this isn't always the case. If your employer doesn't do anything to resolve your problems, it might be time for a new job. After you try all of the tips above, consider your happiness. Would you be better off with a new position? If so, it's time to start looking.

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