I am really fortunate to have co-workers who don’t make me cringe, but that wasn’t always the case.
There are few things more frustrating than working with rude, negative, disrespectful people and feeling like you can’t do anything about it because you’re in a professional setting. I have had to endure the lazy co-worker who doesn’t get their job done, the insensitive co-worker who constantly offends everyone, the co-worker who sends emails in all capital letters, and the worst, the co-worker who tells the boss nasty, untrue rumors about the rest of the staff.
We have all had to deal with the co-worker from hell at least once in our lives, but fortunately there are ways to manage so that your work environment is still a healthy one and a stress free work place!
Here are 8 types of terrible co-workers and how to keep your cool:
1. The Drama Queen
The Drama Queen (or king as the case may be) is always visibly upset about something minor that most of us would just brush off. This co-worker usually doesn’t realize they’re being annoying, or at least doesn’t mean to be, but the constant drama is really distracting in the office. If left to their own devices, they may not move on from their crisis of the day (read: neither can anyone else in the office)
Keep your Cool: The best way to deal with them is to be empathetic without reacting too much. Offer minimal advice only if and when you can (and especially only when it’s appropriate). You want to help improve their mood without encouraging their behavior.
2. The Slacker
The Slacker is the co-worker who would totally work on that project they asked you to do if they weren’t “so busy” doing…well, nothing.
Keep your Cool: If the slacker’s bad habits affect you and your work directly, try confronting them calmly about the issue and be sure to tell them your work load is already piled sky-high and you don’t have time to take on more projects at that moment. If they don’t change, have a private conversation with your supervisor so the situation can be addressed. If The Slacker’s laziness doesn’t impact your work – just let them continue their behavior. Eventually your boss will become aware of the problem and put a stop to it.
3. The Complainer
The Complainer can take nearly anything big or small and make it extremely negative. It’s beyond frustrating to listen to them groan about every little task but fortunately The Complainer should be pretty easy to handle. The biggest mistake you can make is trying to cheer them up because they don’t want to hear it and they probably won’t feel that it’s genuine.
Keep your Cool: The best way to deal? Sincerely (no sarcasm allowed!) tell them that whatever they’re dealing with sounds really frustrating and that you admire them for being able to handle it. The shock of you listening to them and being empathetic should shut them up… just be sure not to complain along with them.
4. The Thief
No, The Thief won’t actually steal your things, just your spotlight. This co-worker will brag about their totally awesome idea to the whole office, including your boss – the only problem is, it was your idea first.
Keep your Cool: The only way to deal with The Thief is to have proof on hand. Keep a record of all your work and ideas and regularly shoot your boss an email with status updates so the next time your insecure co-worker steals your thunder, you can confidently correct the issue.
5. The Gossiper
The Gossiper is the one who has no problem making up lies and sharing personal information about everyone else behind their backs. Don’t be surprised if you wind up in your boss’s office because The Gossiper told him you said something you never even thought about. You’ll never be able to put a stop to their behavior but you can actively defend yourself and protect your reputation.
Keep your Cool: The number one thing to remember is to never, ever gossip with them. If they say something bad about a co-worker, say something nice in response then “suddenly remember” you have an important email to send out and remove yourself from the situation.
6. The Control Freak
The Control Freak is more annoying than terrible. They will constantly try to perfect everything and want everything done to their standards even though they’re not the boss.
Keep your Cool: Often their behavior will leave you feeling insulted so when dealing with this co-worker you need to keep calm and hear them out. If you listen to them they will be more likely to leave you alone and annoy someone else. Added bonus: The Control Freak will be so busy obsessing over something minuscule that you can handle the important projects.
7. The Screw-Up
The Screw-Up is the co-worker that means well, but is completely incompetent. Regardless of how long they’ve been on the job, they have no idea what they’re doing and you constantly have to fix their mistakes (read: take on extra work) and you often find yourself wondering how they still have their job.
Keep your Cool: Since this co-worker is struggling and not just lazy like The Slacker, offer them some guidance and most importantly, be patient with them. If you help them, your boss will notice and think more highly of you.
8. The Bully
The Bully is the co-worker who never matured past high school and constantly demeans everyone else. They’re just mean and they don’t care if they hurt your feelings – in fact, they’re probably trying to.
Keep your Cool: Don’t let their comments get to you. Instead, recognize that they’re internally very insecure and that by staying confident and holding your ground you ruin all their fun. If The Bully says something completely untrue, feel free to calmly and professionally stand up for yourself and correct them with the facts. The key is to stay strong and appear unaffected by their words.
The most important step in dealing with annoying co-workers is identifying who they are and why they do what they do – when you understand them, you can handle any situation that may arise accordingly and coexist with them in peace so you still have a healthy and happy work environment!
Do you have a terrible co-worker that lands in one of these categories? How have you dealt with them in a professional, healthy way?