Being Assertive With Co-Workers That Bother You Is Worth The Effort.
By Steve Schumacher
We have all encountered them. The co-workers that seem to be on a mission to make your life miserable and cause problems in the workplace. We wonder when the boss is going to deal with them. We talk about them in the lunchroom.
They are a focus of our conversations at home. We dread having them cross our paths at work and do what we can to avoid them.
Whenever you put a group of people together on the job, you will have a couple people that have a lot of annoying habits. We do our best to keep our stress level in control, but sometimes people have had enough and blow up, causing even more problems.
When dealing with annoying co-workers, you have a choice. Suffer in silence or do something about it before it gets to the point where you have to talk to the boss about it.
Following are a few of the people that drive us crazy and what you can do about them.
The Talker. These are the people that seem to go on and on in conversations and never take a breath. They take your time and keep you from doing your job. When these people start to talk to you, let them know that you have limited time and that when that time is up you must leave the conversation.
Check with them to make sure they understand your boundaries. Then adhere to those boundaries. It may take a while, but they will eventually get the message.
The Slacker. Some co-workers seem to do just enough work to get by, while the rest of the team is overloaded. If the boss does take care of it, there is not a lot you can do. One thing you can do, when you are on a team with them is be clear that all responsibilities will be shared equally.
Always follow-up with them to make sure they are on task. Show some appreciation even when they take a tiny step toward the goal. If they continue to not pull their weight, it might be time to approach the boss about the situation.
The Pot-Stirrer. In every group, there seems to be at least one person that thrives on drama. If there is no drama, they will find a way to create some. When you see this happening, pull them aside and let them know specifically the impact they are having by creating drama.
As hard as it may be to believe, they often do not realize the impact they are having. Be clear about how you would appreciate them acting in the future.
The Complainer. It is very easy for some people to find fault with pretty much everything in the workplace – the boss, the pay, the work schedule, etc. It is a rare occasion when they actually have something good to say.
When dealing with this person, it is important again to let them know the impact they are having and how much more positive their impact would be if they were a little more positive. We all have complaints, but the chronic nay-sayer must be confronted or they will infect the rest of the team.
The Interrupter. These are the people that constantly butt in on conversations, finish people’s sentences, and generally annoy people. We all want to be heard, and these people do not give us the opportunity to say what is on our mind. In this case, you must make the interrupting behavior the topic of conversation. Say things like “when you interrupt me, it makes me feel …”
Do it in a tactful, yet assertive manner. Sometimes the phrase, “may I speak while you are interrupting?” works wonders.
When faced with co-workers that annoy you, you need to take an assertive stance or the behavior will continue. Let them know the impact they are having and how they could change that impact.
You have a choice with annoying co-workers. The best choice is to give them honest, polite feedback.