It’d be great if we could all just get along, but if work has taught anyone anything, it’s that sometimes people just don’t get along. Everyone has their own unique personality and at times it clashes with others. Our personality dictates how we interact with others, and if our personalities are at odds with another, it’ll create conflict and tension that will effect everyone in the office. There are the sarcastic personality types that are negative and demean other people’s work. You can’t ever tell if they’re joking and if they are, it usually isn’t funny. There’s the type A coworkers that excessively stress over everything and if you’re a more laid-back type B person, you may be bothering your type A coworker just as much they are bothering you. Then there’s the gossipers, the nags, the over competitive types, and the lone wolves just to name a few. Either way, you have to figure out a way to deal with the personality clashes you encounter in the workplace.
If you find yourself clashing with someone, you may find yourself with two options. You can deal with them either directly, which is the best and most effective approach when executed smoothly, or you can deal with them indirectly. Dealing with it indirectly can keep the issue from ever being fully resolved and leaves room for miscommunication. Dealing with people indirectly is something we’re more prone to doing, whether it’s a quick, snappy email instead of a direct phone call or a discussion about the situation at hand that doesn’t ever address them as the source of the problem. This is like saying, “The deadline was missed last time, this one needs to be turned in on time or else we’ll never get the project done” instead of, “You turned in your report late last time, you need to turn it in on time or else the project will never get done on time”. We’re hesitant to be direct because we don’t necessarily want to hurt or offend the other person. To avoid this, stay cordial and courteous. Remain polite during the confrontation and be reasonable. Be brief and as direct as possible in order to make the situation less stressful.
It’s easy to get pushed to the brink when your coworker is bothering you. Don’t let it get to you and remember to remain professional. Don’t complain out loud to other coworkers- it’ll only make the situation worse by creating a hostile environment. Your anger and frustration will eventually subside and you’ll be glad you didn’t blow it out of proportion in the long run. Keeping your temper from leveling up to Hulk proportions will help you deal with your coworker in a professional and mature manner. They will be more likely to listen to you if you don’t yell.
Of course, if dealing with the coworker isn’t resolving anything and even others have started to complain, then it’s time to fill your boss in on the problem at hand. Sometimes, things get out of our own control and we need to take responsible action to ensure that a safe and productive work environment is maintained. It’s OK if you aren’t friends with everyone in the office, but it’s important that you get along on some level that avoids animosity. You’ll be working with different people all the time in projects, teams and presentations throughout your career, so learning how to handle a clash of personalities now will help you in the future.