Conflict Resolution — How to Respond to a Coworker Who Truly Gets On Your Last Nerve

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Throughout your career you have the freedom to make a variety of important choices, from your line of work to your employer. The people you work with, on the other hand,  are often a matter of chance. Consequently, it is inevitable to encounter an unfavorable colleagues from time-to-time.

Whether an interpersonal conflict stems from personality differences or variances in work ethic, spending a significant amount of time with someone you do not care for is always a challenge. While you could simply quit your job to get away, it may not be the most prudent course of action. When the decision to move on to another opportunity is made hastily, oversights are more likely to be made when evaluating opportunities. For example, instead of removing yourself from the problem to move on to something more ideal, you might damage your own image or wind up putting yourself in a situation that is even worse.

Rather than taking immediate, drastic measures, first try to resolve or mitigate the issue(s) by working things out with the person. It could save you a great deal time, effort and inconvenience. Follow these steps to reach a resolution.

1. Talk to the Person

Calmly and politely pull your colleague aside for a private conversation. Using a respectful tone, detail the behaviors that are grating on your nerves and explain why you find them so offensive. Remain silent and listen to the other person’s side of the story, as they may have a good reason for exhibiting certain mannerisms.

2. Be Willing to Compromise

In a best-case scenario, your colleague may not have realized they were offending you and will immediately change their ways — but do not expect that. Working with others requires give and take, so be willing to reach a deal. Perhaps you could find common ground together or you could agree to stop doing something the other person finds annoying.

3. Take the Matter to Your Manager

If having an honest conversation with the person fails to help the matter, bring the issue to your boss’s attention. Let them know you tried to work things out on your own, but have since realized the need for a third-party to be involved. Hopefully your manager will listen to both of your viewpoints and assist in a mediation. If issues linger, your manager may find another solution. Be prepared for any outcomes.

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