Dealing with difficult co-workers


Is it essential to have a positive work culture? You bet it is.

A positive work culture can lead to greater job satisfaction, better mental and physical health, and increased productivity. It can also create a sense of community and belonging among employees. On the other hand, toxic work culture can lead to stress, burnout, and turnover.

Two factors contribute to toxicity in the workplace. The first one is the unskilled, untrained, and rude leaders. The other one is the presence of difficult co-workers, which makes work-life difficult. There are generally five types of difficult people you have to work with within your workplace. A study from office supplier brother.co.uk identified the six types of toxic work colleagues, as well as the most effective ways to deal with them. Let’s take a look...

1. The workplace bully

They use fear and intimidation and exploit our healthy aversion to unnecessary conflict.

There’s only one way to deal with bullies: stand up to them, but you don’t have to go total psycho in the breakroom. These aren’t prison rules. Instead, tell them calmly but firmly that their behavior is hurtful and unacceptable.

If the issues continue, escalate the problem to HR. If you need to escalate, record all bullying incidents, including what happened and when. Get witness statements if possible.

2. The micromanagers

These managers and supervisors are constantly checking in, requesting updates, and providing untimely feedback.

What to do? Ask for a casual private meeting, then outline why constant supervision doesn’t work for you. Be selective about what messages/emails you respond to. If you ignore the irrelevant check-ins, your manager might get the point and stop sending them.

3. The manipulator

A high-level manipulator will make you feel like you’re the source of any problem. These people make you doubt yourself, your ability, and maybe even your sanity. Understand that manipulators work in the shadows when people are unaware of their sneaky and shady shenanigans. Calling them out in public robs the manipulator of much of their power.

4. The insincere flatterer

This is the suck-up. These guys think saying the right things to the right people will get them to the top. Don’t engage with the suck-up. When suck-ups realize that sucking up doesn’t work on you, they’ll move on to another target. Reflect the compliment to nullify the suck-up’s power and influence. It’s a great way to show that flattery won’t fool you.

5. The office gossip

This type is loyal to no one but themselves. Most gossip is relatively harmless and best ignored. But, in some instances, it can damage reputations and careers. This type of gossip is unacceptable and needs to be confronted before it spreads. Tell the gossip nothing and never trust them with private information. That friend act is just a way to get you to give up more juicy gossip. And remember, if they’re gossiping about people to you, then they’ll gossip about you to people.

6. The slacker

The slacker has no qualms about watching others do their share of the work. They are lazy, and their entitled attitude can kill a team’s morale. If you’re managing a slacker, schedule a casual catch-up to see if there’s anything they need help with. Slackers will slack off as much as you allow them to. So don’t make excuses for them. They need to be made accountable.

Toxic teammates are a drain on our emotions and productivity. And now, here is the deal. I have read a post from a personality who says, “Before you join a company, you have to make sure that the company is not a toxic workplace.” The same person also posts: “If you are working in a company that has a toxic culture, quit your job.” Always pinning the blame on someone.

This material is not here for you to do the same. Now that the material has provided you with the means to identify these difficult co-workers, you have to make sure that you are not a difficult worker yourself and that you are not a contributor to its toxicity. The list offers a guide for us to reflect on and assess. Change happens when we change first. This is better than blaming someone else and always behaving like a victim.


  • Latest
  • Trending
Are you sure you want to log out?

Philstar.com is one of the most vibrant, opinionated, discerning communities of readers on cyberspace. With your meaningful insights, help shape the stories that can shape the country. Sign up now!

or sign in with