So, you’re back to work for another year…and it’s so good to see all of your workmates – or is it?
When we go to work we are almost certainly going to have to spend time with people who we wouldn’t choose to.
Personally I’ve found there are certain categories of people who have not bought out the best side to me in the past, but as with all things, how we react to them is our decision to make. Here are some of my ‘favourites’ and what coping mechanisms I have found in order to deal with them effectively.
1. The Bully
There’s always someone in the workplace who does their level best to belittle you. They pick at you, they try to pull you down. They can be overt or subtle, but you know that they are deliberately trying to make you feel excluded or useless.
The first thing you have to ask yourself is – are you playing the victim? Bully like victims – they can show their strength around them. Think about your body language and your verbal patterns. Try to be confident and happy around them – then they tend to move on to somebody with a more victim like mentality.
Secondly try to understand why this person is trying to pull you down. Well adjusted, happy people try to support other people. Bullys attack others to cover their own issues with insecurity and feelings of uselessness.
Lastly – speak to them. Tell them that you are uncomfortable with their behaviour around you and that if it doesn’t change you will take it further – the boss or HR. Then follow through with that if you don’t see evidence of change.
2. The Moaner
You know this one – as soon as anything happens (or doesn’t happen) they’re the one who see the worst possible outcome and tell the world about it. If you ask this person how they’re doing, you’ll get a catalogue of woes that will leave you feeling depressed and sad.
For me, these people have turned into a bit of a game. The pleasure for me is to try to see the bright side of whatever it is they are moaning about. If they moan that it’s raining you can say that it saves you watering the garden. If they moan about overtime, you can talk about what the extra cash will help you do…..Eventually they will find you so irritating they will find someone else to moan to.
Being a Pollyanna and seeing the bright side of everything can be an effective way to deal with a moaner, but sometimes they can be too much to deal with to. I once worked with someone who sang ‘Good Morning’ from singing in the rain, every morning. At first it was sweet, then I wanted to make her stop.
Firstly – check yourself – are you being a moaner? If so, stop it immediately!
Secondly, try to accept this little ray of sunshine into your life – remember it could be worse. One thing to try to keep in mind about these types is that they are often using it as a bit of a front. Don’t forget that they can be having a hard time too. Think about Robin Williams for a second.
4. The Ego maniac
Oh how they Love themselves and want to tell you all about it. They are Great at what they do, they have a great house/partner/holiday/life/car….everything in fact.
Firstly, don’t try and compete with these people – It’s what they want.
Secondly don’t believe everything they say
Thirdly just give them a non committal ‘That’s nice’ and you’ll end up shutting them down.
The thing you need to work out about this person is ‘why are they trying to impress you?’ Do they hold you in very high regard? Are they feeling desperately insecure and are terrified about getting found out?
5. The Backstabber
Maybe this person is a tell-tale, maybe they talk about people behind their backs, maybe they say one thing and do another. What ever their form of backstabbing is, you need to be able to deal with them.
Firstly – don’t get involved. It’s a dangerous path and you could easily end up coming off worst.
Secondly – don’t rely on them or their honesty. Make sure all your dealing with them are open and up front, then they have nothing to use against you.
Again, understanding this behaviour is useful. Why does this person feel the need to behave in this way? Often it’s simply because they feel threatened by others and try to bring them down.
All of these types may be in your office or around you at work, and you need to be able to deal with them. One technique that can be useful for all of them is to imagine holding a black rubbish sack. When they start speaking, imagine all of their words just flowing into the bag. When you’ve finished with your conversation, imagine tying up the bag and throwing it away. Good riddance to bad rubbish!
Another method is to use a piece of jewellery as a ‘magic shield’. When they start, touch the piece of jewellery and imagine a force field springing up between you and them. They can talk all they want – you can see and hear them, but nothing gets through.
Lastly, remember this is just a person you work with. Choose to not let them get to you, and there is nothing that they can do about it. Your reactions are in your control, not theirs.
Have a great time at work, enjoy the good people and ignore the bad ones and whatever you do, try to be a good one yourself x