What to Do With Annoying Colleagues


Tensions are bound to arise when working closely with others. Many of us don't say anything when this happens, worrying that speaking up will harm the relationship. But letting something simmer makes things worse. Instead, address the situation productively by following these steps:

  1. Make sure that you intend to be collaborative, and don't try to fake it if it is not. If you don't want to be cooperative, this will come out in your tone and attitude, making the conversation even worse.

  2. Let your intentions for collaboration be known at the very beginning of the conversation. Say something like this to lower defensiveness and set the tone: "Our working relationship is important to me. There is something I would like to talk to you about." Extra tip: Notice the word “and” not “but” in the example statement.

  3. Stick to the facts and limit your conversation to one particular incident. Explain how it made you feel and why it matters to you.

  4. Ask, "What's your thoughts on this?" Listen carefully to the answer, even if you don't agree.

  5. Work together to determine how to improve the situation. When both people craft the solution, the situation is more likely to change.

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