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  • 27 October 2021
  • 8 min read

Dealing With Difficult Colleagues

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    • Aubrey Hollebon
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Play video: "These days, people shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable in the work place. So I hope you manage to deal with the situation."

Not getting on with your colleagues can make your working life so much more difficult. Laura explains her own experiences with this, and outlines how to handle difficult colleagues.

Topics covered in this article


My Experience Of Dealing With A Difficult Colleague

Bear In Mind, It Might Not Be Intentional

Speak To The Colleague Or Your Line Manager

Speak To Your Human Resources Department Or Trade Union

Every Workplace Will Have A Dignity At Work Policy

Keep A Record

Speak Up For Yourself

Think Before You Speak

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Hi everyone, my name's Laura.

Today, I'm gonna be doing a video on how you can deal with difficult colleagues.

Now I understand from personal experience, it's a very difficult situation to be in, and it can really impact your wellbeing in the workplace.

I'm hoping that some of the information I give you today will help you if you're in a similar situation.

I've made a few notes, I’ve looked at some of the situations that I was in, and I've looked at how I've dealt with them.

And I've also made a list of some of the people that you could turn to, to try and help support you in this situation.

My Experience Of Dealing With A Difficult Colleague

From personal experience, I will just give you a brief overview.

In a previous job, I did deal with a difficult colleague.

It was a supervisor of mine, and it was more the way she spoke to me.

It was very, how can I put it?

Very stern in the way she would speak to me, quite demanding, it come across very rude to me.

And I found it very upsetting the way she spoke to me.

Now, it got to the point coming into work, I was starting to feel anxious and worried about what she would say, how she would treat me.

Sometimes she would speak to me like it in front of other people, which obviously I found very uncomfortable and embarrassed by the situation.

And it got to the point where it just gradually got worse unfortunately.

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Bear In Mind, It Might Not Be Intentional

Firstly, a bit of advice when dealing with a situation like this, is it's always important to bear in mind that everyone's got different types of personalities.

I'm quite a sensitive person and I do take things to heart very easy.

Is having an understanding that perhaps people might behave in a certain way.

They might come across as being stern or a bit nasty towards you, but that might not be the intention.

So firstly, just bear that in mind, if you are dealing with someone, just bear in mind that they might not intentionally mean it.

Okay, so that's the first thing.

In the situation I was in, the supervisor was like it to a number of people.

I do feel partly it was her personality, but also I think there was parts which did overstep the mark.

Speak To The Colleague Or Your Line Manager

In regards to that situation, I spoke to my line manager.

That's the first point of call I would suggest, if you can't speak to the person who's making you feel uncomfortable, I would speak to your line manager.

Ideally, if you can speak to the person who you're feeling uncomfortable by, that would be a good first point of call, because if you can speak to them, it could be that they're completely unaware of how they're treating you and how you're feeling by their behaviour.

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So if you could speak to them in just a calm environment, perhaps have a word with them, or perhaps you could write down how they're making you feel and have a chat with them, that would be the first situation.

But if you can't, I would then go to your line manager.

If you explain to them how you're feeling then, they can also have a word with the person involved or maybe speak to both of you together and try and resolve the matter that way.

Speak To Your Human Resources Department Or Trade Union

If you feel it's a bit difficult to go to your line manager, like perhaps they're really good friends, or they've got a really close relationship, you can also speak to your human resources department or a trade union.

I'm currently with the union in my job position now.

If you're with a union, that would be another point to call.

They're very supportive and they've got a lot of experience of dealing with situations like this.

That's another place I would look at speaking to.

Every Workplace Will Have A Dignity At Work Policy

Also, a couple of things I've made notes off whilst researching for this video, is every workplace will have a dignity at work policy, especially within the NHS.

Now this outlines how people should be treated in the workplace.

I would perhaps have a look at that on your internet, on the website of where you working, perhaps up look at what policies are in place and have a read through them and just familiarise yourself with them.

And they will outline in there the best course to take.

Keep A Record

Keep a record of everything that's happened.

If it's been an ongoing thing for a while, I'd recommend perhaps keeping a little diary, just so you remember everything that's happened and you can use this then if it does get to the stage where you need to put a formal complaint in.

Speak Up For Yourself

Some other advice I'd give is obviously be aware that certain personalities do clash in the workplace.

We're all human, we're all different.

Maybe just try and be aware of that, be up front as well.

So if you're working with someone and perhaps they're being quite stern with you, telling you what to do, saying things to you, that you don't agree with them, then perhaps try to be upfront with the person and build up some resilience.

Be confident in saying, "Well, look, I'm not really happy with doing something that way, or please, can you just not speak to me in that way?".

It might get to the stage where you can say that and they might be like, "Oh my gosh, I'm really sorry. I didn't realise I was coming across in that way".

So try and speak up for yourself.

I know it's very hard to do that for some people, but if you can try, that might help solve the situation.

Think Before You Speak

Another thing I would just say to be aware of is think before you speak.

If this has been going on for a while for you and you're struggling with someone in particular, try not to let it all fester up where you might just one day say something, and you might think, "Oh my word, I wish I'd never said that".

Try to just always think about what you say to the person involved or to even other the members of staff.

I hope this video has helped you with certain situations.

And I hope if you are struggling with a difficult colleague that you do find the confidence to speak to someone, speak to a colleague, speak to your line manager, supervisor.

And like I said, if you don't feel comfortable with them, then speak to your trade union or your human resources.

They're very helpful.

And these days, people shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable in the work place.

So I hope you manage to deal with the situation.

And if you want any more questions answered, please leave a comment below the video, I will reply.

And also please keep an eye out for future videos and take care of.

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About the author

I’m Laura and I work as a Healthcare Support Worker within the NHS, I’m starting the part time BSc (Hons) Nursing (flexible learning) course through the University of South Wales this September. I am looking forward to developing my skills and knowledge further and becoming a qualified nurse. Working and studying part time is important to me as it enables me to balance my family life with my children. In my free time I enjoy spending time with family and exploring new places.

    • Aubrey Hollebon
    • Richard Gill
    • Ben Gordon
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