We all know someone who makes going to work a whole lot harder. No matter what makes them hard to deal with, the outcome is always the same, more stress for the people around them. Maybe it’s that sales guy who’s always foaming at the mouth about the customers that he can’t close with, pacing up and down his cube, making strangling gestures in the air while he talks calmly on his headset and cussing up a storm once the call is done. Maybe it’s that web design lady that has a hardcore victim complex, constantly going on and on about how unfair her workload is… instead of actually working. Or maybe, just maybe, you’ve got a Grade A Jerk on your hands, somebody who talks down to you in every conversation and is always on the lookout for ideas to steal to further their own careers.
No matter which particular personality is making your job harder, the method for dealing with this problem behavior is pretty uniform for all varieties of crazy and nasty people. As uncomfortable as it might be for you, the first thing that you should do to attempt to curb the behavior of a co-worker is to address it directly. For our hypothetical salesman, let’s call him Roger, the next time he starts ranting (to nobody in particular) you should approach him and say something like “Hey, can you stop saying such violent, vulgar things? It’s really distracting when I’m trying to make my calls.” Now, it’s important to address the behavior as it happens and to do it as calmly and logically as possible. Trying to bring up months of frustrations all at once almost never works out, so it’s good to start small.
For some more solutions to working with these troublesome individuals, here’s 5 Strategies to Deal With A Horrible Co-Worker from CareerRealism. My favorite technique discussed in the article was physically removing yourself from the conflict zone. If you share a desk or a pod with Mr/Ms Volcano, re-locate to a quiet area (if possible) for a good chunk of your work day. You should definitely inform someone up the food chain as to where your new sanity zone is going to be and the reason that you need it. This sort of proactive approach is your best bet for getting your work done and (hopefully) getting someone with a bit more authority to reign in your office’s raging bull.