How do I deal with bitchy colleagues

18 tips for dealing with 8 types of difficult colleagues

1. Self-reflection


What exactly is it that bothers you about the person being offended and their behavior?

Does the behavior or the sole presence of a colleague scratch something that you should clarify with yourself? Personal differences, envy, and negative feelings can all be reasons why you are biased towards a coworker. Maybe the other person isn't as obnoxious as you think. Realize that it may be traits of the other person's character that make you angry. But you can't really change that. Part of the conflict could be due to your perceptions or your prejudices. The world is a mirror! Let's clear it up.


Helpful questions to clarify:

  • What part do I have in it?
  • What exactly annoys me about this person?
  • How does the person behave towards me?
  • Are we too dissimilar or too similar?
  • To what extent does the interpretation correspond to the colleague's intention?
  • Does this person remind me of someone I haven't had good experiences with?
  • Am I jealous of the other's position?


Clarification done? The universe sometimes has its own kind of humor. Maybe it wants to help us learn all the time. Although we would like to forego some learning opportunities, right? As the people around Weingarten like to say with a soft “L”; “Don't hit, shake!”. Only that such a thing is usually not allowed by company policy today. Spoilsport! What to do?




2. See the positive intention


The basic assumption: every behavior is based on a positive intention. In a conflict, however, that is more difficult to accept. Nevertheless, it is worth following this assumption:
What is the aim of the colleague with his behavior? What is it good for? Whether consciously or unconsciously; Behind the behavior there is an intention, an alleged benefit - which is often one-sided, if at all. However, understanding the positive intention behind unpleasant behavior does not necessarily mean willingness to endure inappropriate behavior. It is more helpful to find out whether there are other ways of doing it that do less harm.

We also receive information by dividing the troublemakers into categories.




3. Differentiate between types


Anyway, what kind of difficult colleagues are there? Above you will find a woodcut-like subdivision of common nerve dwarfs.




4. Clarifying conversation


In a well-prepared conversation (link) you can present your position in the form of I-messages. You'd better defer threats, allegations and accusations, it would be like pouring gasoline on the embers. It would only encourage resistance. Then rather active listening at eye level!

If you get stuck in the conversation, postpone a fixed follow-up appointment. Cramp leads to more cramp! Sometimes a moderator can help.

If your attempts so far have been ineffective, state in private or in the presence of a neutral moderator what exactly bothers you about the behavior of the other person and what you want for your cooperation.




5. Counter


With the appropriate repartee techniques, you ensure that unfair attacks are not worthwhile. Whoever allows constant verbal or psychological attack invites further attacks.

But be careful: As a rule, you don't need to be quick-witted, but professional quick-witted. Typically, retaliation doesn't make things any easier, it lays the foundation for a simmering blood feud in the office.

You can find out more about professional repartee here.




6. Respect


Make sure that the other person does not lose face. Show respect, no matter how clever a reply, on the tip of your tongue. For a long time nothing will grow on scorched earth.

Better to let it be: In the heat of the moment, old mistakes are unearthed that have no real relevance, but make clarification more difficult. And the reduction in pressure through personal insults is often overestimated compared to the damage.




7. Take a deep breath first


Some things are hard to believe even when they happen in front of your eyes. Nevertheless, do not allow yourself to be provoked by an answer or a reaction from the other person, but take some time to think about it and react objectively. If you feel like you have been attacked or if you are upset inside, take a deep breath. If, in an unexpected conflict situation, stress hormones paralyze large parts of the comparatively more modern area of ​​the brain and the reptilian brain takes over, it is better to move the Sunday dishes aside. Careless reactions can make the situation worse.




8. Set limits


Let the coworker know that there are certain behaviors and actions that are unacceptable to you. Signal when and where which limit is crossed without unnecessarily exaggerated threats. Make sure you have an appropriate assessment of the escalation level.




9. Better not blaspheme


Understandably yes, helpful no. It may be a human impulse to take off the pressure with a bit of blasphemy, but it is not beneficial. That disturbs the working atmosphere, is therefore not very professional and it hardens the fronts. It also lowers your reputation as it is seen as a sign of a lack of sovereignty. "What does the oak care if a sow rubs against it?"




10. Explore perspective


How about you get to know your difficult colleague better and, above all, from a different perspective? Use situations like the waiting time at the elevator or at the copier for a small talk. Put yourself in the other person's shoes. Explore the position. The ability to change perspectives and to empathize with another person is a basic skill for good and respectful togetherness. In this way you can find out more about your troublemaker and show interest in others. However, caution is advised with deliberately bad contemporaries! Talk less and listen more.
The insights not only ensure greater understanding, but also help to represent one's own interests better.




11. Consistency


If necessary: ​​Repeat your point of view over and over, regardless of what the other person is suggesting. Don't let yourself be put on the defensive. Stick to your point of view as calmly as possible until even the most ignorant colleague understands it.




12. Gaining distance


The efforts are not bearing fruit? Then learn to distance yourself! If that is not spatially possible; at least mentally.

Even if you approach difficult colleagues with appropriate aloofness, you should behave respectfully, even if you think that he does not deserve it. Respect and appreciation are investments with which you lay the foundation for a good relationship and remain true to yourself.




13. Condition management


Pay attention to your sovereignty. Too much adrenaline doesn't make it any easier. Especially in the heat of a battle, it is important to stay in as balanced a state as possible. We're not so easily unbalanced, are we? So stay relaxed!

Easier said than done? Yes, the voice and body language in particular have a life of their own. Instead of pretending; rather pay attention to your inner demeanor. It's easier and more believable!

Maintain your poise: a steady stance is better than being unsteady. Pay attention to calm movements instead of erratic or aggressive gestures. Talking too quickly is a sign of nervousness and weakness. Calm, stressed speaking conveys security. All of this works best from the inside out. Your attitude matters.

In the desired state you have your balance and you know your point of view. Provoking them doesn't work. Attacks are pointless!

The tidier you are, the less chance other people have of pressing your sensitive buttons and manipulating you.




14. Take responsibility


Take responsibility. If you've made a mistake, admit it. Make the situation clear. Whereby taking responsibility is not synonymous with assuming guilt; it means first and foremost the willingness to create.




15. Know your own values ​​and remain trustworthy to them


Granted, some contemporaries challenge the ability to cultivate benevolence. But instead of letting these test characters take you to imitate them and return the favor, this is the opportunity to show how we actually stand by our values.




16. Alleluia


Fortunately, there are not only colleagues from hell, but also the others, the gifts from heaven and of course the many in between. How about giving the enriching contemporaries the appreciation they deserve more often?




17. Reframing


How about reframing, that is, reinterpretation. Sometimes a thought helps like; "Whoever reaches the next level in life gets more demanding training partners!"




18. Support


Yes, …