Dealing with Co-workers

Making your workplace teamwork click!

It takes more than one person to make a company click. Indeed, it sometimes takes hundreds or even thousands of employees.

What's that mean to you? Specifically, it means the larger the company you work for, the more co-workers you have to deal with, and, more importantly, get along with.

According to "Dealing with Co-Workers We Don't Like," by Jonathan A. Hess, relationships with co-workers are called "non-voluntary relationships," because as long as you hold that job, you have no choice but to interact with the other people who work there.

Successfully dealing with co-workers is one of the keys to teamwork, and successful companies do all they can to promote a collegial atmosphere in the workplace. Teamwork involve to knowing your job, doing it well, respecting the other members of your group and working with them to accomplish a common goal.

Interpersonal communication and courtesy are important to maintaining good relationships with your co-workers. According to "Career Smarts," by Russell Wild, interpersonal skills may be the most important factor in being successful.

To get the most out of your co-workers and to help them get the most out of you, here are a handful of reminders about how to deal with disagreements from

Clarify what's in conflict: If you're in conflict with a co-worker, understand what sticking points are at the root of the conflict and be prepared to negotiate on other issues.

Find a common goal: By reminding yourself and your colleague that you're all working towards the same goal, you can put yourself on the same side rather than the opposite side.

Don't take things personally: Don't make the assumption that someone disagreeing with you is personal; it's probably not.

Stick to the issues at hand: Limit the scope of any disagreement, which keeps it from veering into unrelated and irrelevant issues.

You still may not be able to resolve your conflict, but don't be led astray because of an office conflict. Remain professional and set personal differences aside - even if you can't resolve the conflict, you still have to work with them. There are mental steps you can take to avoid the stress that comes with co-worker trouble. Here are a few tips from Hess:
  • When talking with a co-worker you find difficult, maintain your focus, keeping the conversation focused on the job at hand. Having an agenda will help you stay focused. Avoid unrelated questions.

  • No matter how you communicate with the co-worker, be polite, even formal - but avoid being patronizing.

  • Most important, avoid emotional involvement. Negative feelings about a co-worker can overwhelm a person and blur their focus for the job at hand.
Sources: "Dealing with Co-Workers We Don't Like," by Jonathan A. Hess, Ph.D. Asst. Professor of Communication, University of Missouri-Columbia;; "Career Smarts," by Russell Wild.



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