According to Fortune, 93% of people who work on a team have at least one co-worker who doesn’t do a fair share of the work.
That’s true even in high-performing teams – and you’ve probably experienced it.
This can be especially noticeable with likable, charismatic co-workers who may have an easier time “skating by” than others ... but many personality types could be at fault. From easygoing slackers to chronic complainers, just about anyone can bring the rest of the team down.
What can you do about it?
Dealing with other workplace styles is one of the perennial problems in how to deal with coworkers. Sometimes, people simply have different ideas about what success looks like.
Even so, however, everybody should be pushing in the same direction.
How to Deal With Coworkers Without Tearing Your Hair Out: Six Tips
Customer service reps are particularly prone to be placed in situations where others aren’t doing what they’re supposed to. It may seem like you have no influence over how others behave – and it’s true you can’t change their behavior. They have to do that.
Even so, though, communication is crucial. Talking it out should come before going to the boss. If other reps don’t keep accurate notes in your company CRM, mismanage their tickets, or simply seem to be neglecting customers, here’s what you can do about it:
1. Get a Sense of What Others See.
You can get others’ perspectives on the problem without escalating it. Ask in general terms about their experience – not with the other rep, but with the type of problem or work task at the heart of the issue. You could discover others have had similar challenges, suggesting a team-wide dilemma.
2. Don’t Start With Judgment.
When approaching someone over a work concern, it’s important to set the right tone from the start.
People “raise their shields” when they hear blame, anger, or that loathsome phrase: “We need to talk.” Try to start from a firm belief that you can resolve the situation together.
3. Ask Open-Ended Questions.
Before assuming someone intentionally dropped the ball, get their take. There may be issues at the root of the problem, such as a misunderstanding of work tasks or lack of clarity on the most effective way to get things done in your interface. These are areas where you could help.
4. Provide Resources or Advice.
People having trouble with a particular task often want to avoid having that knowledge brought into the open. Use the benefit of your experience to volunteer some techniques that have worked for you or gently remind the other rep about resources that can help them.
5. Put Your Best Foot Forward.
People tend to rise to the standards set for them. It’s essential to stay humble, but you can help move your team in the right direction by consistently doing your best. Going above and beyond encourages the team – and the company culture – to follow.
6. Finally, Tell the Boss.
Sometimes, talking with your supervisor is the only constructive way forward. It’s best to do this as a conversation aimed at achieving clarity on the work that needs to be done and how it should be divided, including both you and your co-worker.
Improving Your Ability to Deal With Coworkers Effectively
If you want to really know how to deal with coworkers well, you have to develop certain “soft skills.” These include conflict management and emotional intelligence. You might not always be expected to “see where everyone is coming from,” but handling issues constructively is indispensable.
Here are three ways you can work on that yourself:
1. Learn to Set Stronger Personal Boundaries.
People who consistently find themselves doing other people’s work often have boundary issues to work on themselves. They may be driven by perfectionism or anxiety about being blamed in turn. There are some great books that expand your options by helping you manage these feelings.
2. Measure and Develop Your EQ.
Emotional intelligence is vital to interpersonal relationships and may hold your key for how to deal with coworkers. Adopt positive habits that can help you exercise your EQ. The more you do this in day to day life, the easier it’ll be to call on it in high-stress situations.
3. Manage Your Mood, Energy, and Emotions.
It’s not so much what you say as how you say it. If you’re in a miserable mood when you talk to someone, they’ll assume you see them as a problem. Breathing exercises, visualization, or just good old-fashioned restful sleep can reduce stress so you’re light on your feet.
Long story short, we’re all in this together – even if it may seem like some team members overlook that at times. With a problem-solving mindset and some active listening, you can help create a future where everybody can succeed.