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Can’t we just get along? How to resolve conflicts with your co-workers

Getting along with co-workers can be difficult. Perhaps they play their radio too loudly near your cubicle, or they talk excessively with friends on personal phone calls then leave all the “team work” to everyone else on the team. Regardless of their faults, how important is getting along with them? Very important! Often, your boss rates you on your review based on your ability to get along with co-workers.

To resolve any conflict with co-workers, you have some options, each of which has pros and cons:

  • You can consider talking to the other co-worker about the actions that affect you. This approach could have drawbacks as well since the co-worker could say that you are not the boss. On the other hand, you may easily find a resolution to the problems.
  • You can consider asking other employees if they are affected by the co-worker. This approach could backfire if any other employees tell the co-worker about your conversation without your permission.  Optionally, you may find out other employees are experiencing even worse offenses from your co-worker than you. If others are having problems too, you can jointly decide what if the best approach to handling the issues.
  • You can consider talking to your boss about the issues with the co-worker, but, if your boss isn’t yet aware of the co-worker’s shortcomings, the person who looks bad could be you.  Another possible outcome, however, is that the boss could resolve the issue for you.

In any of these options, the outcome depends on your tactfulness, the receptiveness of the person with whom you are talking, and your company’s culture.  In choosing your option, just remember to protect your own reputation as being someone who is tolerant, gets along with others, and is a team player.  As long as you are careful to protect your own reputation, trust yourself to choose the best method for resolving conflict in the most effective way.

Hallie Crawford and Terry Wynne, Ed.S., LPC, BCC
Certified Career Coaches

P.S. Are you in the ideal career for you? Find out if you’re in the right career with our Ideal Career Quiz.