The world of work sometimes looks like a jungle and there are all kinds of colleagues to be around. We have to find solutions to adapt to their behaviour, if we want to keep our job...
- Hypercritical -
It is the colleague who has nothing interesting to say or to contribute, and who devalues everything and everyone in order to promote himself/herself. It is also the one who will draw everyone's attention to a slight defect in one of our tasks, while all of our work is of high quality (denigrating our work allows him/her to be reassured on his/her value).
THE SOLUTION : Let’s shift attention to the attacker himself/herself. Indeed, he/she has easy criticism but he/she has nothing to suggest (no alternative). So we just have to answer « What do you suggest instead? »
- Traitor -
It’s the co-worker who likes to spread gossip and spread rumours. Often his/her gossip has no truth (if it is based on anything at all).
THE SOLUTION : Let's challenge him/her, asking him/her to clarify what he/she is basing their conclusions on. If we ask him/her to be precise and concrete, we unmask him/her. Powerless, we will see him/her quickly turn the heart of the problem and play the victims.
- Solitaire -
It's the colleague who doesn't say hello, who doesn't smile and barely looks at us. If we venture to greet him/her, he/she responds with a growl.
THE SOLUTION : His/Her attitude is unrelated to us, so let's conclude that his/her day must be very sad and move on without bothering him/her.
- Telepath -
It is the colleague who says loud and clear that he/she knows the boss well, and certainly better than us. Suddenly, he/she knows what the boss wants, he/she knows what ideas will please the boss or not. He/she will therefore discourage us from going to propose our idea to the boss, from making certain requests, because he/she knows that the boss will not adhere to it. If he/she finds the idea appealing to the boss, he/she will suggest that he/she will go talk to the boss about it for us (but without saying that the idea comes from us).
THE SOLUTION : Let's face it, this is a strategy he/she uses to gain prominence and power. Let’s not be fooled by this type of colleague and let’s go see the boss ourselves if we have something to say/suggest.
- Rapporteur -
It is the colleague who likes to denounce us (a stain on our shirt, an unfounded suspicion, a refusal because we are too overloaded, etc.), because he/she thinks to grow (gain value) by doing that.
THE SOLUTION : If our leader is a good leader, he/she will ignore this gossip, but it is possible that he/she will have listened and believed this gossip. So let's reassure our boss that our projects are going well or that our projects are progressing, let's not hesitate to discuss our disagreements with the whiny colleague, and prove to our boss that we are trustworthy by staying true to our ideas and ourselves.
- Aggressive communicator -
It’s the co-worker who yells, who is mean, who needs to make a scene screaming loader to try to get the upper hand in a discussion or to instil fear. He/She doesn't always have to be vulgar to intimidate (often the less vulgar are the most insulting).
THE SOLUTION : Let's stay true to our values, our points of view and we should not hesitate to express our opinion, we cannot let him/her intimidate us, and we don’t have to listen to his/her threats and his/her screams that have no background/weight (and could be reported to the police as it is harassment).
- Retainer -
It is the colleague who manipulates us by withholding (partially or in full) information, instructions, decisions, circulars, invitations, important calls. It is the colleague who waits for us to complete a task to tell us that the paper must be of a different colour, that a specific font is required or that the shipment was scheduled two days ago. He/She even pushes the vice by giving a bad or wrong evaluation on our work performance. Obviously, this masquerade puts us in check!
THE SOLUTION : Let's bring this communication problem to the attention of our leader. By explaining that this disruptor poses a problem for the smooth running of the work, we should not hesitate to ask that in the future we obtain the information another way than through this colleague.
- Affective manipulator -
This is the colleague who is difficult to detect (and therefore to confront), he/she pretends to be our friend/ally/champion, asking to keep all our conversations secret and stabbing us in the back as soon as the opportunity arises (because he/she behaves this way with everyone). If we disagree with him/her, we suffer his/her anger and feel like losing his/her friendship (which never existed). He/She uses our fear of being rejected, not supported, or not being appreciated.
THE SOLUTION : It is better to be alone than in bad company... if it took us a while to realize the gravity of what was happening to us and feel that we have missed our chance to react, we have to start collecting evidence of the nuisance and steer clear of this individual.
- Perpetual victim -
This is the co-worker we empathized with, but over time we realized that he/she is constantly in demand. As soon as a conversation starts, no matter the topic or theme, there are only problems, frustrations or injustices which range from the ingratitude of children, taxes and the cost of living (which keeps increasing), it goes as far as the metaphysical injustice of this universe which refuses to become aware of his/her genius or his/her difficulties. We can highlight the positive aspects of his/her life, but the complaint continues.
Also, he/she does not take responsibility, since he/she makes a mountain of the slightest obstacle and failures are not lessons to grow but excuses to give up and do less. So when we work on a common project and we tell him/her about a problem that we have noticed or that we have noticed that he/she is doing less and less, he/she immediately places himself/herself in the persecuted position : he/she is not paid enough, he/she does not work for us, he/she receives no gratitude for everything he/she does (which is often the bare minimum), he/she suffers in silence ignored by all.
THE SOLUTION : We need to communicate this to our superior and find a solution so that we no longer have to rely on this colleague to do our job properly, because he/she is sabotaging us to give himself/herself value (the little power that he/she believes to possess). And as soon as this colleague complains, let's not react and not give any importance to his/her complaints.
- Word mill -
It’s the colleague chatting non-stop, coming to tell us about the football match or the reality TV episode of the day before… he/she monologue constantly (impossible to interrupt). It sometimes goes as far as talking out loud to himself/herself describing the task at hand, the object being held in hand and what he/she is doing every second of the day.
THE SOLUTION : Let's approach him/her at the coffee machine or at the bends of a corridor, to let him/her know that he/she is disturbing us. Let's stay precise and factual and above all, let's put limits « You've been disturbing me three times, while I'm on a difficult file. So, I would be grateful if you would stop and let me work ». If that is not enough, let's explain the situation to our superior, so that this disturbing element is removed from us or to obtain permission to put on headphones so that we cannot hear him/her.
Clearly, none of these behaviours alone are likely to prevent us from growing at work, because they can be countered, avoided or corrected with or without our boss. And as efficient as we can be at work, we're not flawless either, and we certainly annoy or confuse some of our colleagues.
What do you think?