Working remotely can be an opportunity to get away from those annoying office antics but you can still find yourself having to deal with a difficult coworker.
The fact of the matter is, at some point in your working life you’re going to come across people you just don’t get along with. Some relationships can go wrong while others were never right to begin with. However, not seeing eye to eye with a coworker doesn’t mean you can’t work with them. You just need to know how best to manage the relationship so it doesn’t affect your work and causes the least amount of stress for the both of you.
Here are some great tips on managing difficult relationships from “Happy at Work” by Sophie Rowan. These tips are useful whether you’re working with a colleague in an office environment or remotely.
It might sound strange, but a difficult person will find it very hard to continue to be rude or difficult when you’re being nice to them. It’s a fact! The author’s not suggesting you just roll over and take it, you can still be assertive, but just do it in a nice way. She suggests being polite, professional, and always acting maturely with respect and dignity. In other words, don’t lower yourself to their standards.
If you’re the only person in your team who has an issue working with a particular co-worker, observe how others in your team interact with this person. How do they handle situations when this person is being difficult? Watch and learn. You might gain some strategies you can put into practice to make things easier.
Talk About It
Sometimes a pretty minor issue can turn into a major stressful situation if it’s left unaddressed. The author suggests having a conversation with the person right from the outset. And while it might be awkward or uncomfortable, it’s far better to do this than leave things to fester and for the situation to get even worse.
You Don’t Have to Agree
It’s OK to have an alternative opinion, you are not always going to agree with your co-workers. What’s important is how you deal with and react to a difference in opinion. Be assertive with getting your point across but don’t judge or blame.
In summary, accept that similarities and differences will exist between you and your coworkers – this is life. Just be yourself, be true to yourself and don’t be afraid to speak up when you find yourself in a difficult situation.
We hope you find these tips useful.