Difficult People

Frenemies aren’t just found on reality TV shows; they’re everywhere. Even Apple has one: Google. If you have “frenemies”—colleagues with whom you have cordial, unproductive relationships—don’t give up. Before they become full-fledged enemies, take these steps:
Some online tools allow you to say something to work colleagues anonymously, such as Anonymous Employee or TxtEmNow.com. The trouble with this sort of anonymity is that it doesn’t allow you to fully resolve a problem.
A co-worker, Pam, argues with practically anything you say, she doesn’t hear what you’re trying to say, and she even lashes out sometimes. Working with a chronically defensive person is difficult, but there’s a secret to having better conversations:
There’s a common type of workplace theft, and it has nothing to do with missing office supplies, reports a recent OfficeTeam survey. Nearly one in three employees interviewed said that a co-worker has taken credit for their idea. “Being proactive in sharing your vision with your manager and colleagues early on can help ensure others know the concept originated with you,” says Robert Hosking, executive director of OfficeTeam.
An administrative assistant recently posted this dilemma on our Admin Pro Forum: “I know my office co-worker chats on Facebook most of the day … and now I have proof. Do I say something to the co-worker, or do I bring it up to the boss? I am usually not a tattletale, but there are times when I am overwhelmed with work and I know she’s chatting on Facebook and not getting her work done.” Forum readers weighed in with advice:
Question: “I’m not sure whether to trust one of my co-workers. ‘Amy’ is helpful and considerate to me. She provides useful information and makes friendly, encouraging comments. However, some co-workers say Amy stabs people in the back because she wants to climb the corporate ladder. If Amy really is a skillful manipulator, how do I avoid being hurt by her tactics, especially when management thinks so highly of her?”
What should you do about a co-worker who takes advantage of a boss-less office? How do you bring this to your boss’s attention without appearing like a troublemaker? Here are some ideas for addressing a co-worker’s slacker behavior:
Question: My department recently moved to a new building … I was given an office that was originally designated for “Judy.” Judy seems offended by this change. I think she blames me for the decision, even though I had nothing to do with it. Now I’m starting to feel guilty. How can I fix this?

Tame those bullies

July 1, 2009 Categorized in: Difficult People

Is bullying marring your workplace? Gary Namie, co-founder and director of the Workplace Bullying Institute, advises going directly to management.
When a colleague or customer gets so upset they stop making sense, you need to remember this: Too much adrenaline is muddling their thinking. Here are the most common forms of ranting, along with what to say to get them back on track quickly:
We’ve all been put in situations where opinionated people force us to talk about something that we don’t care to discuss. What do you say in these awkward, challenging moments that allows you to speak your truth, yet leave another’s respect intact? Try out the following techniques:
Attitudes have changed for the better in many offices, where the fear of layoffs still runs high. But what happens when employees become so busy kissing up to the boss that they stop pulling their weight at work? How are you supposed to deal with a kiss-up, do-nothing co-worker?
At some point in their careers, most people end up in the position of being left to do the work after flaky colleagues drop the ball. Anita Bruzzese (www.45things.com), who writes about workplace issues, offers these four tips for handling co-workers who drop the ball, and how to get them to pull their weight: