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coworkers arguing

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In an ideal world, only individuals with some control over their emotions would be hired to any workplace where other people will be around. In an ideal world, taking some sort of emotional wellness assessment would be a part of every job application process. But, we don’t live in that world (as I imagine it would be riddled with lawsuits) so, sometimes, we have to work with individuals who, though technically qualified for the job, are absolute nightmares to spend five days a week with.


Dealing with a coworker with a bad attitude can make going to work dreadful. It adds another layer of difficulty to already difficult tasks. You really want to say to the person, “Hey, could we do without all the shade and just get our sh*t done?” But, people with bad attitudes don’t generally respond well to other bad attitudes. You could go tell on this coworker to HR but, first off, it’s rather difficult to report someone for having a bad attitude. It can be hard to put in concrete terms or even capture the evidence.


Even if you do have great evidence that this coworker is creating a difficult work environment, bringing it up won’t always mean she gets let go. It could mean that she gets a stern talking to from HR, and is let off with a warning…and then she just comes back to terrorize you for “snitching.” So handling this may be on you. And, the truth is that navigating difficult personalities is important practice. It’s kind of like dealing with workplace bullies. Should you ever want to start your own company, you’ll have to deal with vendors, clients, and employees who are less-than-pleasant. So consider this a practice run that you’re getting paid for (by your boss, that is). Here is how to handle a coworker who has a bad attitude.


Everyone gets a chance to speak

If you are working in a group, take charge of the plan and state that it’s important you go around and give everyone a chance to speak. You can agree to take turns, so everyone gets to put in their two cents. Doing this gets ahead of the negative coworker’s tendency to try to take over the conversation. Set a precedent that states the talking time will be split up evenly.

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