People with jobs in a conducive working environment can consider themselves lucky. Many employees often end up in a stressful working atmosphere, where they end up feeling demotivated, restless, and dragging their feet to work. Even if you’re in a field you like, there’s a chance that you might not get along with some of your co-workers or may even feel discriminated against. The office can be a hotspot for major stressors, and this includes noisy colleagues and people who refuse to communicate with you.
All of these negative influences can gradually wear you down and interfere with your productivity. Getting micromanaged by your boss is already stressful—imagine having to put up with a bossy officemate as well. So how do you keep your cool when confronted with an officemate who has a hard time keeping their leadership tendencies in check?
1. Assess the Situation
Whether or not you are dealing with a workplace scenario, it’s always best to assess a situation objectively. Take a second to replay all the instances you felt like your officemate was breathing down your neck. Was he or she providing constructive feedback? Or were their comments said out of spite or employment law discrimination? Answer these questions before deciding on your plan of action.
But not everyone who takes charge has malicious intentions. If this is the case, treat their comments as an opportunity for learning and growth. On the other hand, if you feel as though you are being wronged, manage them with calm and firm resistance. And always remember to treat them with respect.
2. Speak Up
Nothing will improve if you let your co-worker walk all over you. Keeping quiet about the situation is a silent indicator that you’re OK with the way things are. Take charge and let your co-workers know if they are hampering your productivity. Tell them you have your own workflow process and that changing things could make it harder for you to manage your time. It’s best to confront them directly about the situation, but if you find a one-on-one talk intimidating, you may opt to send an email instead.
3. Let Your Supervisor Know
If your situation still hasn’t improved and internal conflicts are starting to bubble up, enlist the help of your supervisor and let them weigh in. Most of the time, managers are unaware of workplace misunderstandings, so it’s better to air your concerns. You can also encourage other co-workers who have fallen victim to your bossy officemate’s domineering attitude to speak up.
4. Walk Away
When the disruptive behavior still persists even after you’ve taken action, the last resort is for you to be the bigger person and walk away. Depending on the current situation in your workplace, walking away could translate to different things—setting healthy boundaries or ignoring them to avoid any potential conflicts. Walking away could also mean brushing off negative behaviors and carrying on with your everyday tasks as if nothing happened. Focus on improving your output and disregarding any distractions. And who knows, improving the quality of your output can silence those who constantly criticize your work.
But when things get completely out of hand—like when the office has turned hostile—handing in your resignation letter may be the best solution. But before you do anything drastic, try seeking advice from your peers or approaching the HR Lead. They can intervene and talk to your officemate on your behalf.
5. Practice Work-Life Balance
Lastly, try to stay active outside the office. The more you have going on in your personal life, the less you’ll notice workplace negativity. Strike a good balance between work and your other passion projects. Refrain from taking your work home and always set aside some time to unwind before another week starts.
While being understanding is a must-have virtue in the workplace, you should know when to draw the line. If you’re pulling your own weight for the team, don’t sit back when someone tries to discredit all the hard work you’ve done. Learn how to stay calm and speak up. But most importantly, have the courage to move on when things get too toxic.
For more great tips in the workplace, check out the other blogs on Career Geek.