In most cases, it’s best to speak directly with the team member who is annoying you.
When it comes to our careers, we do not exist on an island. One of the most critical skills any professional can possess is the ability to effectively coexist with team members and others inside and outside of the organization. This may sound easy enough, but for many, team members cause more stress and problems than anything else.
In a previous article entitled, Annoying Coworkers!!!, I listed my top 5 annoying behaviors and inserted a link to the original article that was published by Jacqueline Smith in the Business Insider describing the results of a survey to determine some of the most annoying coworkers.
We should keep in mind that, we may be on a team member’s list of annoyances. Here are a few suggestions that will help you work with difficult team members, keeping in mind that we may be considered annoying by some other team members.
Here are the suggestions:
It’s easy to think positively about team members you like and get along with. And we often like those people who are most like us in their personalities or skill sets. However, success depends on leveraging the differing strengths people bring to the table, so it’s important to at least make an effort to work together effectively.
It’s natural to think more negatively of workmates you have a hard time getting along with. Instead of focusing on the negative or what’s frustrating to you, try to identify why it’s hard to get along with them. Perhaps it’s someone who talks too much for your taste or has a different work ethic or personality than you. Instead of focusing on their negative traits, try to identify what they bring to your team or workplace.
Practice Good Communication
Many people feel that when a team member says or does something that irritates them, it’s best to remain silent or to ignore him or her altogether. Yes, sometimes it’s appropriate to keep your mouth shut, like if someone says an offensive, inappropriate comment. In that case, talking to your team leader and involving human resources would be appropriate.
However, remaining silent usually backfires for day-to-day annoyances. Inner emotions could build up as you put off dealing with the situation, and you may end up exploding at an inopportune time. Instead, try to improve communication with your team members. When they do a good job on a task, commend them for it. This will make it easier to approach team members when they do something that affects you negatively. Asking permission to broach a difficult topic can be a great lead in to a tough conversation. It helps diffuse it up front. If you are emotional about the situation, sleep on it, and choose a time to talk to your workmate when you can speak to him or her calmly.
Look for ways to commend the team members on recent issues. When one of them does something that gets under your skin, write down what you would like to say to him or her. Try apologizing for the tension between the two of you and offer to clear the air. You may find that this prevents your team member from becoming automatically defensive and thus more able to work on a solution.
Focus on the Work
Sometimes we focus too much on personal issues, and that prevents us from seeing the big picture. If you find it difficult to get along with your team members, focus your conversations on work projects rather than personal matters. Think of things you can talk about with your team members that are work-related, like a recent client project that was a win for your department. Or start a conversation about creative solutions to a challenge your team is facing. Go back to the bottom line of why you are there in the first place (the task or project at hand), and steer them in that direction, as well.
When you put these tips into practice over the next few weeks, you may find that your relationships with your team members improve. If they continue to be strained, you may find that more drastic measures need to be taken, like speaking to your team leader. However, in most cases, when you change the way you react to situations and bring positivity to the workplace, you can find a way to get along with workmates – no matter how different your personalities.
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