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How should I deal with a hostile co-worker?

On Behalf of | Nov 4, 2019 | Firm News |

While it’s not necessary that you get along with every single person you work with, you’d like to remain civil with your co-workers when at all possible. Civility can be difficult when faced with a hostile co-worker, who might even engage in bullying behavior with you and other employees. RobertHalf.com offers the following insight on how to best address a workplace bully. 

While it can be tempting, refrain from reacting to your fellow worker with equal disdain. Doing so may change other people’s perceptions of the issue, which can complicate matters for you. Instead of your co-worker being perceived as a bully, it may appear that you’re locked into some kind of personality conflict for which both parties are responsible. The best course action is to treat the person politely, even when subjected to bad treatment. However, remain firm in your interactions when it comes to job tasks, or you run the risk of being walked on. 

There might also be an emotional element in the situation. No one likes to be insulted or diminished, and the actions of workplace bullies tend to do just that to their victims. Instead of taking it personally, consider that the person doing the bullying might be coming from a place for extreme unhappiness. It’s also possible that your co-worker is subject to a great deal of job stress, and he or she could be expressing frustration in the wrong way. In most situations, the behavior can be explained by the larger context and not result from anything you’re doing personally. 

This knowledge doesn’t make it any easier to deal with a toxic individual on a daily basis. That’s why you might consider bringing the issue up with human resources personnel. For example, if your ability is compromised by the ill-treatment, it’s best to let upper management take over the issue. You can also ask others who’ve been subject to similar behaviors to file a report so you can rest assured that the problem will be dealt with.