How to handle a difficult co-worker
When you work with someone who just doesn’t seem to ‘get it’, try the following techniques.
We’ve all had to deal with someone difficult at work, and often it isn’t the bully or the colleague who is constantly undermining you that is the problem – for the majority, it is the clueless colleague who fails to read emotions and is passively hostile.
When it comes to these types of co-workers, it is quite possible that they lack something called emotional intelligence, or EQ, which is defined as an ability to read social signals and act accordingly. Those with a high EQ tend to have a better sense of self-awareness and are better equipped to show empathy.
If you think you are dealing with someone with a low EQ, try the following:
1. Don’t vilify them
As tempting as it may be, try not to condemn those with a low EQ. Emotions are essentially information, and those with a low EQ lack the ability to take in and understand other people’s emotions.
2. Be clear
For the reasons stated above, it is essential that you be as clear as possible with them. Explain what you need and give them all the information they need – sarcasm, for example, may be lost on them.
3. Criticise constructively
If your co-worker has done something wrong or has upset you, be sure to give them detailed feedback. Do this in a calm manner as they are likely to mirror your emotions.
If you are struggling with your relationships at work, perhaps a business coach could help? See our page on business coaching to find out more.
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