Co-Worker Woes: OfficeTeam Offers Tips for Dealing with Unprofessional Colleagues

    TORONTO, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - In many office environments, employees have less
than collegial relationships, a new survey shows. Twenty-nine per cent of
respondents recently surveyed said they work with someone who is rude or
unprofessional on the job. Of those, 68 per cent felt co-workers frequently
behave badly -- and not just to the people who report to them. More than half
(59 per cent) of all workers surveyed said their boorish colleagues are
equal-opportunity offenders, upsetting subordinates, peers and superiors
    The survey was developed by OfficeTeam, a leading staffing service
specializing in the placement of highly skilled administrative professionals.
The interviews were conducted by an independent research firm and include
responses from 532 full- or part-time workers 18 years of age or older and
employed in office environments.
    "Most employees will encounter an unpleasant colleague at some point, and
how they interact with these co-workers can affect their careers," said Diane
Domeyer, executive director of OfficeTeam. "Tactfully handling challenging
personalities requires strong interpersonal skills and diplomacy, which can
help someone stand out for all the right reasons."
    Unfortunately, many professionals may have to put their interpersonal
skills to work, since not all supervisors can be relied upon to prevent
employees from clashing. Almost one-quarter (23 per cent) of respondents felt
their managers weren't effective at dealing with unprofessional co-workers.

    Coping with Unpleasant Colleagues

    Although nobody likes working with someone who is inconsiderate or
unkind, the survey suggests those who have been in the workforce the longest
may have built up immunity to bad behaviour. Among respondents, 35 per cent of
those age 65 or older said inconsiderate co-workers should be tolerated as
long as they are good at their jobs.
    "Those who have spent a lot of time on the job may be more effective at
negating problem behaviours," said Domeyer. "The fact is, while you cannot
always control others' behaviour, you can control your own reactions to it."
    The following are the most common types of difficult co-workers, and
OfficeTeam's tips for coping with them:

    The Belittler - Belittlers routinely tear others down in order to build
themselves up. Put-downs, demeaning remarks and disparaging comments are
common trademarks of this person.
    Coping strategy: Your confidence is the Belittler's weakness, and he or
she will back off if you stand up for yourself. Try refuting a Belittler's
criticism by asserting yourself, using facts where possible. For example, if
he or she puts down one of your ideas, say, "It's something that's worked for
X, Y and Z, and it's also more cost effective than what we're doing now."

    The Credit Thief - Insecure about their status, Credit Thieves boldly
steal your ideas and grab the glory when a project is successful. Curiously,
they're nowhere to be found when things go wrong.
    Coping strategy: Keep a written record of your activities and
accomplishments. Give your manager regular status reports about the projects
you're working on, and don't hesitate to correct misperceptions (for example,
"Actually, I did the research; John helped input the data.").

    The Saboteur - Saboteurs have a knack for leaving colleagues in the
lurch. Similar to the Belittler, they like to make others look bad. Their
tactics aren't always overt, so you may not realize you're working with a
Saboteur until a critical deadline arrives. Then, you find you're unable to
complete your part of the project because the Saboteur has withheld important
    Coping strategy: Be sure your supervisor or project manager knows the
roles and responsibilities of each team member, and insist on regular progress
reports so that Saboteurs can't take advantage of lapses in oversight.

    The Rumormonger - Rumormongers like drama and often spread half-truths or
lies by talking behind others' backs. This is an especially dangerous type of
co-worker because he or she has the ability to tarnish your reputation.
    Coping strategy: The best defence is to avoid engaging in any kind of
gossip -- remember that anything you say can be held against you. If the
Rumormonger starts swapping stories with you, say only good things about your
colleagues and excuse yourself as quickly as possible.

    The Slacker - This person may try to pass off tasks to other staff
members. The Slacker often claims he or she is "too busy" to help out yet will
make time for water cooler chats and web surfing during office hours.
    Coping strategy: Be sure this person carries his or her weight on project
teams by documenting the responsibilities of each member of the group and
asking for regular status reports. Hold everyone accountable for their portion
of the project, and be firm with deadlines.

    OfficeTeam, the world's leading staffing service specializing in the
placement of highly skilled administrative professionals, has more than 300
locations worldwide and offers online job search services at

For further information:

For further information: For survey charts or to schedule an interview
for local commentary in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary or Vancouver, please
contact Jason Chapman, (416) 350-2010 extension 62070

Custom Packages

Browse our custom packages or build your own to meet your unique communications needs.

Start today.

CNW Membership

Fill out a CNW membership form or contact us at 1 (877) 269-7890

Learn about CNW services

Request more information about CNW products and services or call us at 1 (877) 269-7890