Career and Enterprising

Consider these responses to cope with hostile colleagues

difficult colleagues Image Credits: LinkedIn

It’s been a month since we’ve been given the green light to head back to the office.

But with the increase in COVID-19 community cases in recent days, the Ministry of Health (MOH) has advised employers to allow their employees to work from home as far as possible.

Whether it be reporting to the office or clocking in from the comforts of home, we inevitably have to face our colleagues, occasionally hostile ones. If that is you, consider these responses to counter the unfortunate situation.

#1: Self-examine the case

We think it’s easy to point fingers at others when things go wrong. But why not take this chance to do some self-examination?

Ask yourself if the unfriendliness from your coworker could be a reaction to your actions? Maybe you’re a relatively straightforward person who speaks your mind without considering much. If so, then learn how to catch the right opportunity to share an opinion and keep mum when you should.

#2: Stay respectful but firm

Let’s say you’ve done some introspection and realised that the unpoliteness comes from your colleague despite you having done no wrong. Okay, fair enough. However, don’t rush to counter hostility with aggressiveness.

Unless you want to aggravate the already less-than-ideal work relationship, stay respectful but firm. Perhaps you are partnering with someone who likes to delay his or her work and then gets defensive when you ask for the output. Instead of asking an open-ended question, stick to this:

“Our presentation to the boss will be scheduled this Monday, so I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me the reports by mid-week.”

#3: Don’t blame yourself
a man stressed at work

Image Credits: The Independent

Have you noticed that whenever a new hire enters the company, there will be a period where “work kakis” get awkward? From schools to the workplace and social groups, there are “cliques” everywhere.

Sometimes, your colleagues’ coldness towards you may not be that they dislike you or have something against you. Everyone responds differently to a new face, so allow time to pass and conversations to flow naturally.

#4: Incorporate little kind gestures

A little kindness goes a long way to make someone’s day brighter, and in return, yours too! It could be as simple as guiding a table buddy on using a function on Microsoft Excel or offering to buy tea or coffee for a bit of perk-me-up.

But as with all things, don’t get overboard with being helpful. Since it may appear too “fake” when your actions don’t tally over the months or years, use little gestures when opportunities present themselves.

#5: Ask for advice

To round us up our list of responses to coping with hostile colleagues, we would recommend that you ask for advice from your HR department. Since HR personnel are usually trained in their field, they will know how best to handle workplace relationships.

Often, there are people in the office who get too comfortable “bullying” their fellow workers but have not been formally reported by anyone. Trust your gut and do what is suitable if you want the situation to be rightly dealt with by the management.

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