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How to Deal With Your 5 Worst Coworkers

The bad news is that we all wind up with a coworker we can't stand sooner or later. The good news is that if you deal with them the right way, your less-than-perfect colleague doesn't have to ruin your career. (Or even your day.)

Forbes recently ran a piece on dealing with the worst personality conflicts in the office. Inspired by that article, we bring you the five most annoying coworkers, and how to deal with them.

1. Mr. Know-It-All

You're familiar with this guy, in and out of work. If you loved a recent book, he knows the author. If you have an idea, he has a manifesto. At a party, this person is boring. At a meeting, he's fatal to productivity.

How to deal with him: Focus on delivering results -- and consider making up an agenda for every meeting you share.

"As the saying goes, 'Strive to be great, but remember to be good,'" Marv Dumon writes at Forbes. "At the end of the day, business results and performance are the only real sources of credibility."

2. Mr. What's-Mine-Is-Yours

Need proof that boundaries are subjective? Go work in an office. Some people just cannot keep their hands off of your things, whether it's your office supplies, your yogurt, or your ideas.

How to deal with him: Observe all the conventions that say "this is mine," whether it's labeling your food or keeping your favorite office supplies in your desk drawer. And if it comes down to it, don't be afraid to confront Mr. WMIY if he still goes digging for your things.

3. Mr. Sunshine

Otherwise known as Eeyore, this coworker is the person who cannot be appeased, no matter how good the news is. If he gets a raise, he complains about taxes. If he gets a free lunch, he whines about the chip selection. And when things are really bad, well, count on Mr. Sunshine to make it seem worse.

How to deal with him: Avoid him, whenever possible, and tune him out when you can't. Bad moods are contagious, and you can't afford to let him sabotage your attitude.

4. Mr. Assistant (to the) Regional Manager

Ever have a colleague who seems to have received a promotion that only he heard about? The most famous example of this is Dwight on "The Office," who spent years inflating his title, responsibilities, and power, to the great amusement of his colleagues. In real life, it's more maddening than hilarious, however.

How to deal with him: First and foremost, don't let him get under your skin. Remember that -- no matter what he thinks -- he's not actually the boss. Avoid confrontations in which you remind him, in so many words, that he isn't the boss -- sometimes, just addressing this coworker's delusion can reinforce it. Diplomatically refer all questions back to the person who's actually in charge.

5. Mr. Smelly Lunch

This guy needs no introduction.

How to deal with him: If you feel comfortable, ask him not to eat in the common areas. If you're afraid your head will explode just from starting the conversation, consider asking your manager about a "no food at the desk" policy. It's cleaner, better for people's digestion, and encourages everyone to take a real lunch break, which is actually better for productivity.

Also, it would keep you from wasting half your day fantasizing about revenge. That's got to be good for the company's bottom line.

Tell Us What You Think

How do you deal with difficult coworkers? We want to hear from you! Leave a comment or join the discussion on Twitter.

More from PayScale

Tales from the Office: Co-Workers from Hell

How Not to Act When You Don't Like Your Coworkers

8 Ways You May be Annoying Your Co-workers (Without Realizing it!)


8 Comments

  1. 8 John 11 Dec
    I like how they are all men... horrible article.
  2. 7 Cloudy 02 Aug

    What to deal with those co workers who are very pally with your boss, take him out for drinks, always try to be around him and plant negative perceptions abt you and others in the team?

  3. 6 Kathy 21 Jul

    I believe there are annoying co-workers from both genders and I recognize many of those that are discussed in the comments.  Ideally, the author should have titled each coworker Mr. or Ms. so and so, but from some of these comments (Ed, Ray), it appears that you believe ALL women are annoying.  That's not what this article is about.

     

  4. 5 ray 19 Jul

    So true about the women in the office. Every one of them is constantly talking dirt about every one of them. Even the ones that are seemingly good friends. At best they are all frenemys. The men....even the ones that don't like each have a certain level of respect for each other.

     

  5. 4 ed 19 Jul

    Most annoying people in the office are women. No matter where (I have worked at 7 different places). There also is the machiavello-types. These are really THE worst. They use people and they destroy (or try to, in my case) people's reputation. They actually do little to no work at all.

  6. 3 Juan 19 Jul

    My boss. but it is not really a boss, but a task manager.

    You can only be okay with him if he think that him put lights in your way. 

     

  7. 2 Glenn Hutchison 19 Jul
    Exactly!  What about Miss Manic Depressant, Miss Hypochondriac or Mrs Broken Marriage?  The guys have to sit and deal with their emotional baggage all day long because their own friends are so bored with hearing the sob story.  And lest we not forget the group of girls in the office who think they're on Sex and the City - you know the ones - they sit grazing on low fat crackers whilst musing over the latest Mulberry bags and criticising the dress-sense of co-workers, yet they hate themselves for the way they look, and to get over their own insecurities they've hooked up with every singke guy in the office and been ridden more times than Seattle Slew!  :)
  8. 1 Jordan Rivington 19 Jul
    At least the article (written by a woman) was not gender biased. Why is everything "how to deal with HIM"? Seriously, do you think there are no annoying women coworkers?

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