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October 18, 2018

5 Helpful Tips for Negotiating with a Difficult Coworker


Maintaining a good relationship with coworkers is something that’s always desirable. Unfortunately, it’s not always possible. Strong personalities do exist in the office. And some coworkers can be, for lack of a better word, intolerable. Yet, you may find yourself in a position in which you must negotiate and otherwise effectively interact with him or her. Don’t feel this is an impossible task. There exist strategic ways to deal with a disastrous coworker.

Keep a Calm and Reasonable Demeanor

The coworker could turn out to be someone who is highly unprofessional and prone to anger issues. So be it. Don’t drag yourself down to the level of someone who misbehaves. Doing so would only create problems for you. You will both look bad in front of your bosses. Additionally, striking an angry tone with a coworker could make the situation worse. Stay calm and professional in your interactions. This can help you remain focused when dealing with the person.

Avoid Casting any Blame on the Coworker

Trying to blame the coworker for problems in the office isn’t a good way to negotiate. All you will achieve with this approach is to put the coworker on the defensive. The coworker won’t come around your way of doing things once a defensive attitude has been taken. In fact, he or she will be less likely to come around your point of view since you end up being viewed as an antagonist.

Listen to the Coworker

good listener often becomes a good communicator. Better listening allows you to see the other person’s point of view. Spending time listening could cut down on potential confrontations, which makes negotiations less stressful as well.

Try to Meet the Coworkers Needs

The classic armchair psychological assessment that people act improperly because their needs aren’t being met could fit here. There may be something specific the coworker requires in the office. Lacking of access to it causes interpersonal issues. For example, he or she might prefer a more efficient way of communicating with staff and customers. The lack of a solid communications system could be at the root of his/her frustration. Frustration then undermines the ability to effectively work with others. No matter the issue, be mindful of what others need. Try to accommodate those needs or, at the very least, be sympathetic.

Bring in a Manager When Necessary.

Likely, this is a step you really want to avoid. Asking a supervisor to serve as a referee might not always cast you in the best light. However, there comes a time where seeking the support of management becomes unavoidable. Once you’ve completely hit a brick wall with a stubborn employee, bring the matter to the attention of management may need to be done.

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