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
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