3 Ways to Stop Your Co-Workers from Driving You Nuts

If work doubles as your home away from home, make sure you're not recreating the same upsets you had as a kid.

It’s tough to confront people. Well, at least that’s what 90% of the population says. Is your tendency to avoid or even worse, deny, that difficult issues exist at your office?

It’s so much easier to blame others for being impossible to work with. We live in a “he did it, she did it, they did it” world. It’s always easier to fall asleep at night judging, blaming or attacking others. Then we’re ok with falling asleep with an angel halo above our own heads, with no regrets as to how we may have contributed to the matter.

To be a successful leader, look at situations from the eyes of a great parent. It’s not really that different. When conflict arises, instead of waiting for that pot of anger to boil over, act.

Here are three ways to stop the madness.

Don’t waffle: The first way to stop someone from driving you nuts is to be decisive. Ambiguity leaves lots of room for misinterpreting a situation. That’s a recipe for disaster. When in doubt, speak out. Ask questions. Don’t just assume the annoyance will blow over. It will just hide in the corner and then show up even bigger and noisier, and usually at the most inopportune time.


Communicate with conviction: Use strong words, be bold. Say you are upset, angry, damn mad. The softer the words, the less you will be taken seriously. Think about how you reacted when you were told to go to your room as a kid; no ifs, ands or buts. You went. You paid attention.


Do what you say: No threats. They won’t hold water. What works, is saying why you are frustrated, annoyed, damn mad. Paint the picture for them. Remember how one of your parents (the one you really listened to) said that your behavior was creating havoc, dissent, a nasty situation…and they said what they would do and then they did it?


We can compare these three ways of stopping your co-workers from driving you utterly insane much like gravity.

Let’s think about gravity for a minute.

If someone throws a ball in the air and you are standing right where the gravitational pull is, you will get hit on the head. Gravity wont apologize or feel sorry for you. It, well…it just is.

Be like gravity.

Once you are decisive, stay that way. Once you speak out clearly with conviction, don’t change your words. Once you do what you say, don’t start to make excuses.

Good leaders are like good parents.

You don’t want to destroy your co-worker, or boss, or direct report – you simply want them to know their behavior is frustrating you.

And like a good leader or parent, you also want to give your colleagues at work the opportunity to respond to you.

Relationships are complex and curious. They demand attention and live in the realm of shades of gray. There are many shades of gray to contend with and you will be the winner if you say what you mean, communicate it with clarity and do what you say.

Join the ranks of the 10% who are skilled at confronting others with grace and ease. That’s what great leaders and great parents do. If you need help in facing others, practice talking to yourself first, a friend second, and then go for it.

The more you speak out clearly, the more confident you will be and better yet, the more emotionally intelligent you become.


Originally published at Inc

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