The Hill Life: Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers
Aug 1, 2012
Hi Belle,This might be out of your fortay but I was curious about how you handle difficult coworkers? I work for a small firm in downtown DC. I like a majority of my coworkers but there are a few that have formed a quite a clicque. They are rude, and talk to down to me and many of my other coworkers. I try to ignore their high school-esque attitudes but it really makes the office quite miserable. How do I address this with out coming off as a tattle-tale?Thanks,T
Offices are often populated by cliques. Sometimes it’s as innocuous as a group of people who get lunch together or play golf on the weekends, but other times these cliques can turn into something nasty and demoralizing.
The difficulty is that, in my experience, supervisors look down upon employees who report clique-ish or negative behavior.
Yes, it is the job of the supervisor to preserve office morale, but most supervisors take a “you’re all adults, settle it amongst yourselves” approach. So, in my opinion, going to a supervisor should only be done if you’ve tried to discuss the issue with the co-worker and nothing has changed, and the behavior is so untenable that leaving the job seems to be your only recourse.
I thought about your situation for awhile, and the only alternative that I could come up with was to employ a buddy system. It might be easy for your Boss to label you a tattle-tale or a whiner, but it would be more difficult to label several concerned employees that way.
I am certainly no expert on dealing with difficult co-workers (even though I’ve had a few). But while I was researching your issue, I found this article about dealing about how to handle these types of situations. I think the author’s advice was very enlightening. It pointed out several mistakes that I have made in the past (letting the problem fester, complaining about it to other co-workers, etc.) and listed several recommended approaches for defusing the situation.
Hopefully some of your fellow readers can contribute their experiences and thoughts. As I’m sure everyone, at one point or another, has found themselves in a similar situation.