Remember: everyone is watching how you deal with difficult co-workers.
- Gossiper: There’s nothing good about gossip. Even when true, it is negative and destructive. Still, people will talk.
- Passive/Aggressive: Even the Mayo Clinic feels passive-aggressive behavior may indicate mental health issues. They define it as “a pattern of indirectly expressing negative feelings instead of openly addressing them. There’s a disconnect between what a passive-aggressive person says and what he or she does.”
Remember: passive-aggressive co-workers “normally have a reason that they refuse to speak their mind about their problems in the first place.”TIP: Once you realize that their behavior might be a result of deep insecurities, it becomes easier to handle. Public hostility will only reinforce the behavior. So, you need to solve the employee’s problem with openness and communication. Instead of blaming, you can explain the problem as you see it in terms of workplace communication. Then, you’ll find solutions in classic conflict resolution techniques.
- Whiner: Constant complainers are tiring. They create stress and wear down their co-workers simply because they have nothing good to say about anyone or anything.
Remember: as long as complainers feel that they have been dealt a bad hand in life, there is no good trying to change them.TIP: It’s more productive to treat them with empathy and concern for their problem. As Psychology Today points out, they are not looking for advice, so you do better to accept their complaint and re-direct it. In so many words, you can say, “I understand where you’re coming from. There’s plenty to complain about. But, if we handle this together, maybe we can get it right.”
- The Know-It-All: The know-it-all annoys everyone. Sometimes, they are smart; other times, they just pretend. In either case, they act annoyingly superior. They seem to enjoy humbling and humiliating others.
Remember: tell and show them you value their friendship.For the sake of the team and culture, you can praise their thinking and contribution and even share it with others. This helps the co-workers to see value in the expert’s help. If you communicate that recognition as important to the team and its goals, it places the expert’s work in a team context and reduces the self-importance. TIP: Give the expert a role to play, and you can manage them into a “we” mode. Where and when you can, you want to coach the expert towards taking the lead on sharing, collaboration, and innovation.
- Slacker: Staller, procrastinator, lazy, whatever you want to call them, slackers fail the team by failing, delaying, and/or ignoring the work and their share in it. As a psychological stance, they also have a thousand explanations and excuses.
Remember: in acting this out, they discourage others, outrage some, and fundamentally affect productivity.Customer Success Managers and Team Leaders have to verify facts and disregard rumors that surround slackers. But, armed with observations of slacker behavior, you can rehire the employee, so to speak. Revisit their orientation and job description to reiterate its expectations. Negotiate understanding of those goals and the metrics that will make a difference. Tip: Review the recognition and reward system. It’s not much of an assumption to figure that slackers are also self-interested, so they will respond to rewards and may even compete for more. Effectively dealing with difficult co-workers is a must. Putting up with problem workers only strengthens their position and behavior. They have to be dealt with. But, you must start with a self-appraisal. It’s going to take your enthusiasm and optimism to turn situations around. Where you cannot change people, you can manage the context in which their bad habits are diminished.
Remember: It lies in your leadership skills to make lemonade out of the lemons you are given.As a good, strong, well-placed Customer Success Manager or Team Leader, you have strengths and skills to order processes, assign roles, and integrate the personalities involved. Part of it is making things work, and part of it is making things work better. But, in the long run, it is the work and its outcomes that rule, so start with your own abilities and work to align the behaviors of others with the organizational purpose. It takes the personality out of the process. What did YOU do to effectively deal with difficult co-workers? Feel free to share ideas that worked for you in this matter. Interested in contributing to this blog? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org