Can’t we all just get along? What to do if you don’t get along with a coworker

When you work around the same people for eight or more hours a day during high-stress initiatives, it is natural for a coworker to get under your skin from time to time.  In most cases, simply avoiding heading to the break room when a pesky colleague is going there or engulfing yourself in your work so you are oblivious to these annoyances are typically sufficient coping mechanisms for getting through the day with a coworker you don’t see eye- to-eye with.  If it is more than that and interferes with your work, it may be time to address the issue rather than sweep it under the rug.  Here are some tips!

Pinpoint the issue and determine if it interferes with your goals.

Not all personality types get along, and that is okay.  Take a closer look at what your beef is with your coworker.  If you just don’t like her/her jokes, or disagree with the strong opinions he/she constantly vocalizes, issues like that can oftentimes be resolved by simply paying them less attention. However, if this is a coworker that you are required to work personally with on group projects, or the issues run deeper than personality conflicts, like if there is competition or undermining going on, further action might need to be taken in order to ensure these tiffs don’t interrupt your productivity.

Try to resolve the issue.

We are all grown-ups, right?  If you have pinpointed the issue and feel strongly that the rift between you and your coworker is caused by her always taking credit for your work, try to find a way to politely bring it up and resolve the issue.  Explain that you don’t want to cause further problems, so you figured addressing the issue instead of letting it fester would be the best long-term solution.  Perhaps they have a bad reaction, but most people would be appreciative that you addressed it with them first rather than going straight to the higher-ups.

Take the high road.

Sometimes, it is okay to agree to disagree.  If you have addressed the issue and still are not feeling your coworker, take the high road and just avoid confrontational issues.  If you know there is a topic you will never agree on, don’t bring it up.  Focus on your work and your initiatives.  Respond in a mature and professional manner, and maintain common courtesy.  Make sure that you are doing everything in your power to not antagonize and worsen the situation.

Speak with your supervisor.

If the issue escalates and reaches a head where neither one of you is accomplishing as much as you should at work, it might be time to discuss the matter with a supervisor.  Again, maturity and professionalism is key.  You don’t want to sound like a toddler tattle-tailing on your coworker.  Try and have a solution you would like the supervisor to consider in mind before going in to meet with them.  Explaining the personality conflict and asking if there is any way you could be put on different teams for the next group initiative will render a lot more productive conversation than marching in your boss’s office and saying, “I can’t stand Betty!  I just don’t like her!”

Like we said, you are with your coworkers a large portion of each day, so it is important not to let disagreements get out of control to where they interfere with your work.  Remember that happy, cohesive teams are the most productive teams, so don’t let bad blood with coworkers hinder the progress of your company and your professional growth!

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