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  • Writer's pictureKerryDawes

How to deal with that difficult colleague…..

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Ever found yourself with a challenging colleague? Of course, we’ve all met one or two along our career.

Most of the time you have been able to brush it off, work professionally with that individual or managed to keep some distance in a working capacity.

But sometimes one individual can start to make a real impact to not only your professional life but seeping into your personal one. And as the lines between work and home blur even more, we are increasingly taking these issues home with us.

Colleague relationships can start to impact you personally in a variety of ways such as your personal mindset, relationships and wellbeing. And so these professional relationships are a key component to a successful and rewarding career. So what are the warning signs that this has become an issue?

  • You start to question your ability

  • You personal confidence is impacted

  • You dread meetings with certain individuals

  • You get anxious on Sunday afternoon ahead of work

  • You are considering leaving your job due to poor relationship(s) and or behaviours from others

It’s important to address this to ensure you not only enjoy your role in the immediate term, but you are able to continue to grow in confidence throughout your career.

You are never going to change someone else, nor should you try.

But recognising how this person's behaviour is impacting you and taking responsibility for your own response to them is key for your own sanity and enjoyment in your job.

Here’s an approach to run through

  1. Identify when you are triggered e.g. when someone speaks over you in a meeting

  2. Notice your response in these situations e.g. you physically tense and your body language becomes confrontational

  3. Consider the other person’s perspective and motivations (really put yourself in their shoes) e.g. they didn't notice they spoke over you in their enthusiasm for the topic

  4. Establish your differences and similarities e.g. you both share the same passion on the topic but you aren’t as confident to speak up.

  5. Brainstorm ideas to manage that trigger situation e.g speak to the person about this behaviour on a 121 basis, ensure you write your thoughts down instead of vocalising them, take a deep breath

  6. Practice those skills e.g. next time they interrupt write down your thoughts and sit back in a relaxed stance

  7. Seek feedback from a trusted colleague. E.g ask your colleague if they noticed positive or negative behaviours

  8. Reflect on the outcome e.g. notice you felt better from that interaction and glad the outcome was achieved either way.

Take time to work through this framework on some key situations. What changed, how did you feel differently, how could you further adapt?

If you still want help how to gain confidence in yourself at work, regain enjoyment in a professional situation and be equipped to deal with challenging colleagues, get in touch for coaching.

Fresh Edit provides coaching for professionals to help navigate their career, specialising in Marketing Experts & Female Leadership Coaching.


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