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Handling difficult co-workers 

-Arjun Gurung

You’re discussing with your co-worker during lunch break over a simple matter. It’s nothing serious, just a little chat during a much deserved break. Suddenly “Mr. Wantu Argue” appears. You don’t intend to go back to your cubicle so soon and your order is only half finished. Rolling your eyes, you sip your coffee. It’s gone sour. It’s a good break gone bad.

Well, just about every office has its share of irritating characters. They think very highly of themselves, or are defensive, or argue on everything under the sun, they blame others for their mistakes or complain on just about everything. Why, these people could even get under the skin of a rhinoceros, let alone yours!

So how do you handle such characters? Experts suggest the following ideas.

  • The self centered guy: Unfortunately such people seem to exist on every turn you take. Such a person takes credits for accomplishments regardless of whether he deserves it or not. If he does do manage to do something, he’ll never let anyone forget it. The best way to deal with the self centered guy is to not let him look good. Don’t let him get away with your hard work. Make sure your boss is aware of your work and contributions. Keep records of your accomplishments.
  • The defensive guy: The defensive guy tends to take positive criticisms like a dog takes to a bath. His ways are the correct ones and no matter how well you layer it, he’ll take your suggestions personally. The best way to deal with the defensive guy is to not let him feel attacked. Use positive appraisals before letting out the negative feedbacks. Speak collectively like using words like “we” instead of “you”. Before criticizing him, criticize yourself, like mentioning how you made a similar mistake.
  • The arguer: This guy loves to argue just for the love of it. It doesn’t matter what you say, he’ll always take the other side, no matter however tiny the matter. The best way to tackle this guy is to let him finish his points. Interrupting will only make things worse. Then you tell your view of the matter.
  • The blamer: This guy never takes the blame or responsibilities for any mistakes of his. When it's appropriate, share the responsibility. Even if a mistake was more his fault than yours, acknowledging what you did wrong will make it easier for the blame game guy to admit what he did wrong on his part. When sharing the blame is not appropriate, however, it's important that you clear to your supervisor who was at fault for the mishap, even if you have to do it in a private conversation. 
  • The complainer: This guy complains at everything and spreads a negative influence on everyone who happens to listen to him. This guy is a bad influence and is best if you minimize your interactions with him.

Despite all your efforts, if you still find your “difficult co-worker” difficult, report it to your authorities.

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