How to deal with a tough co-worker?

Once you join a workforce, remember, it’s not going to be a cakewalk all along the way. You are no longer dealing with just friends or family. There are a whole lot of new people — complete strangers — with whom you have to hang out with, build professional relationships with to ultimately, get your work done.

How to deal with a tough co-worker —

Here are some tips you can use to deal with the tough ones.

Tip #1: Create perspectives on who you are dealing with

Be vigilant. Try to read the folks around you. Make hypotheses about them and validate them. Is this person always talking about other behind their backs? What does that mean? Is this person always going to let me down when I need help? What about the one who is always keen to please the boss. At all costs? Figure out who could be the tough ones.

Tip #2: Get a reality check

You are not the center of the universe. You cannot start complaining or expect everyone else to root for you as soon as you run into the first signs of trouble with a co-worker. It will be considered childish.

Tip #3: Plan your action

Now, understand that action needs to be taken. If there is a person who is constantly undermining you or bullying you, you need to tackle it. If you don’t, you will be in a constant-stress situation. You need to figure what would be the best way to handle it — talk directly? Tell someone senior?

Tip #4: Maintain your dignity

You will actually be tempted to, but do not keep complaining about them to others. You run the risk of creating the image of a whiner for yourself. Bosses might also feel that you are just a source of trouble and do not have the maturity to handle workplace issues.

Tip #5: Make contact

After the action has been taken, rebuild the relationship. Take the first step. Go over to him to the cafeteria and have a conversation. You may say something like “I know we have been through a rough patch” or “I don’t know what was right or wrong but I needed to address the stress I was in.”

Dealing with tough co-workers is easier said than done. But, doing it right is the litmus test of your professional maturity. So, go for it.