At some point in your career, you will encounter THAT co-worker; the one who always has a negative point of view and seems to suck the positive morale right out of the room. And, over time, it can take the joy out of the job you once loved. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Often, a person who is seemingly a bad egg is dealing with something in the background that colors the way they act in the office. Getting to the root cause can do more than create a harmonious work environment; it can also help your co-worker work past the issue that created the behavior.
If you want to see how your actions can guide a difficult co-worker to greener pastures, consider these points.
Is the Behavior New?
If a previously pleasant co-worker has seemingly changed, there is likely a driving force behind the shift in attitude. The cause could be professional, such as a suddenly overwhelming workload, or personal. You may be able to discover which is true by having a conversation with the troubled coworker.
One option is to ask if there is anything you can take off their plate. Sometimes, just reaching out and alleviating some of their stress is enough to allow them to work through the issue. That, and they won’t feel as alone in their struggle. Depending on how your environment operates, you may need to coordinate with a manager to shift some of the duties.
Another approach is to go out of your way to show them appreciation. If someone is experiencing stress due to work tasks, letting them know their efforts are noticed can work wonders. Even making an effort to say thank you when they handle a task that directly benefits you can lay the groundwork for a more pleasant workplace.
You can also make sure your manager (or their manager) is aware of the change. Someone with supervisory duties over the person may have options that you, as a co-worker, simply cannot offer.
Has it Always Been This Way?
A disruptive force in the workplace can harm the bottom line by making it harder for others to perform their duties. If you don’t remember a time when the co-worker didn’t have a poor attitude, you will need to contact someone within your supervisory chain if the behavior is impacting your work in a negative way. Ultimately, it is management’s job to ensure that employees are able to complete their job effectively and efficiently.
Being confrontational will likely not resolve the issue. It is important not to gossip about the co-worker, as this may only add fuel to the fire. Instead, do your best to ignore the behavior and focus on doing what you love, and give management the opportunity to intervene.
When Nothing Changes
If your efforts, and the efforts of management, do not lead to a resolution in a reasonable amount of time, then you should consider moving on. Every workplace has a different idea of what constitutes acceptable behavior. If your current employer is not willing to make efforts to create a safe, productive work environment, then start looking for a new position.
Yes, it may take the time to find something new, but taking the step to remove yourself from the environment may help lift your spirits and restore your love for your career. And, once you find another position, you can leave the troublesome co-worker behind.
If you are interested in finding a new position, the Squires Group can help. Contact us today and see what new work environments may be available to you.