Unpleasant employees usually fall into one of four types, and each of them requires a different approach.
All of us have at least once had to work with people whom we couldn’t stand.
Perhaps it was someone who laughed too loud at the most inappropriate moment. Or someone who constantly stole other people’s ideas and undeservedly received praise from the boss.
Sometimes completely different personalities interfere with working together: someone is active and fast, while someone else is slow and clumsy. At times, the reason for antipathy cannot be explained, such as when colleagues from different departments are working on a common project and simply do not understand each other. Of course, all of this affects not only the process but also the result.
Most often, four difficult character traits interfere with establishing normal working relationships: selfishness, conflict, rudeness, and irresponsibility. Fortunately, it is possible to find an approach to each of those who possess these qualities.
How to work with a selfish person
Selfish people cannot usually be described as friendly and pleasant individuals. On the contrary, they think exclusively of themselves. In the worst cases, this is combined with toxic behavior and even narcissism.
Psychology professor Art Markman notes that the behavior of narcissists is particularly destructive for the work atmosphere, but it is important to see the difference between self-confident and self-absorbed individuals. Narcissists differ in that they do not know how to appreciate other people’s good ideas and are prone to exaggerating their own significance.
If you are a boss, try to deal with such behavior immediately and directly. When you see an employee going “over the heads” of others, let them know that such behavior is unacceptable.
If a selfish person is your colleague, use the same approach. It is better to immediately stop such behavior and make it clear that you will not tolerate it.
How to work with a conflict lover
Interpersonal drama should never become a part of the work process. But it is difficult to explain this to those who are dissatisfied with every little thing and love to create conflicts out of thin air.
According to management associate professor Stefan Dilhert, conflicts can be good. Or at least those that do not harm corporate culture. It’s all about intentions. Constructive disagreements move forward, while conflicts for the sake of conflicts or energy vampirism only drain energy. Unfortunately, lovers of quarrels and bickering choose the second option.
If you are a boss, try to give such subordinates independent tasks, as working in tandem can lead to new conflicts. It is also important to create and maintain an atmosphere of mutual assistance and mutual support in the team.
If you have to deal with such a colleague, do not accept their terms of the game and do not allow yourself to be involved in a conflict. Respond briefly to any comments unrelated to work and redirect the conversation back to work. Over time, such a person will understand that they will not get the desired reaction from you and will switch to another “victim”.
How to work with a rude person
This is not necessarily the person who constantly makes unpleasant remarks. In a professional team, it is more likely someone who dislikes working in a team, constantly criticizes everyone and everything, and rarely compromises.
Straightforwardness can help in communication with such people. They rarely understand what “smoothing things over” means and do not appreciate soft, vague phrasing. For example, instead of saying “The edits to the project as a whole are not bad, but a few more points need to be changed,” it is better to get straight to the point: “The project needs to be corrected in the following points…”
It is worth teaming up with other colleagues. When the rude person starts to criticize someone’s work or idea again, use the situation as a brainstorming session and take turns suggesting new ideas together. This will redirect their attention.
Some people who are prone to rudeness sometimes try to dominate in the team by imposing their opinion or demanding that everything be done exactly as they want. If your colleague is just like that, psychotherapist Melody Wilding advises using their focus on results.
Most often, rude people are focused on tasks, so you can try to explain to them how their behavior hinders the department or company from achieving more. This is especially useful for managers. Remind such employees that they are part of a team, or simply say that aggressive and passive-aggressive reactions at work are unacceptable.
How to work with an irresponsible colleague
Meeting deadlines and being responsible for assignments are not a priority for such employees. They are often referred to as unreliable and not capable of following plans. These are the same people who prefer to do everything their way instead of adhering to standards. This is not always bad, but when there is a serious deadline looming, such behavior can be quite annoying.
To work productively with such a colleague, you need to raise the stakes. They are unlikely to consider it important to respond to your request on time, but will surely change their mind when they learn that the boss is monitoring the task completion.
If this does not bring the desired result, remind the non-obligatory employee of the corporate culture, which probably does not encourage laziness and procrastination. Perhaps this will make them reconsider their attitude towards work and their responsibilities.