Shrewsbury recruitment specialist gives advice on how to manage conflict with a co-worker
12th October 2015
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We spend so much time at work that trying to make our work environment a place where everything runs smoothly and there is a good working atmosphere.

However, now and then a colleague may make that environment uncomfortable - be it what they say or how they act. Dealing with conflictions can be nerve wracking and knowing what to do if the situation occurs can be challenging yet rewarding. You can gain new skills, such as dealing with confrontation and communicating in a different manner. It can also make you think about what your limits are with dealing with people, and help you push these to further your life experience.

Below are a few tips, taken off a number of websites, to help you deal with difficult co-workers and any potential situation you may find yourself in.

Be considerate

When trying to resolve an issue with a difficult co-worker, be mindful that we all have bad days. It may be the case that a colleague is going through a tough time outside of work which may be impacting on their workplace behaviour. If this is the case, then try and forgive how they acted towards you and move on.


Sometimes, people do not realise what they are saying can be interpreted in a different way from what they meant. The only way to let someone know this is by communicating to them. Do not become aggressive, but be firm to let them know what they said to make you feel this way. You will probably find that many co-workers will be instantly apologetic as they may not have been aware of the issue, therefore making it easier to agree on a resolution. However, be cautious of difficult co-workers that may not take your constructive criticism so lightly.

Rise above it

If a colleague is still acting in this manner after you’ve spoken to them, sometimes the easiest solution is to simply accept that they will not return the expected level of professionalism. If you can see that you are not getting through to a difficult co-worker, adjust your expectations of this individual and rise above the issue.

If things deteriorate…

There may be an occasion when a difficult co-worker is vocally or physically aggressive towards you. In this event you are well within your rights to walk away to avoid further conflict. It is your responsibility to make sure you inform your manager or HR department with an account of what happened, how it affected your work and most importantly your well-being.

Last piece of advice…

When dealing with difficult co-workers, make sure you remain professional at all times. Never rise to an aggressive colleague and always turn to communication as the first tool of resolution – it’s wise to document the events in a diary so you can refer to this if you need to follow a formal grievance process. Keep emails from the offending co-worker if they also contain unnecessary content.

Remember, someone could be struggling with a personal crisis or facing mental health challenges so also be sympathetic in this instance as supporting your colleagues through personal turmoil will usually be appreciated in the long run.

About the Author

Rob G

Member since: 29th April 2015

Rob Griffiths is the Recruitment Manager at Red Recruitment Solutions Ltd, an independent office recruitment agency in Shrewsbury. The team have experience recruiting staff throughout Shropshire and the...

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