Let’s face it, work can be challenging and stressful at times. This is specially true when you work with people who are unsupportive and negative, who bring everyone down rather than lifting them up, or who just don’t have your best interests at heart. They can make your work life a total nightmare. If some of your colleagues are mean, unkind and rude towards you on a regular basis, you need to find ways to adapt to their toxic behavior. Although it might seem like an impossible situation, maintaining a professional attitude in the face of mean coworkers is possible. In this post, we will share 12 tips that will help you deal with mean colleagues in the workplace.
12 Tips That Will Help to Deal with Mean Colleagues
Having mean colleagues at work can make your days much more difficult than they should be. Unfortunately, almost everyone will come across a coworker who is unkind, unhelpful, and unable to get along with anyone. If you find yourself dealing with some toxic boss or colleagues, the best thing you can do is try to ignore them as much as possible and focus on the positive people around you instead. Here are 12 tips for dealing with mean colleagues in the workplace so that you can continue to focus on doing excellent work and being the best version of yourself.
1. Ignore Them
Ignoring mean colleagues can be difficult but it is the best way to deal with them. In that case, you must be polite even if you’re ignoring them because being rude back will not help the situation. You can ignore coworkers who are unsupportive and negative in a polite fashion by simply keeping your distance and avoiding their negative behaviors.
2. Stay Calm and Professional
No matter what the situation, always stay calm and professional. This is especially important when you are dealing with mean colleagues. You should remember that bad colleagues always want to annoy you. They want you to make mistakes or do something wrong in anger so that they can harass you by capitalizing on your mistakes. But when you keep yourself calm in this situation, they will become tired someday and stop bulling you. So, being calm and professional will help you to deal with mean colleagues in a peaceful way.
3. Don’t Sink to Their Level
There will always be mean and negative people in the world. You can’t change that. What you can do, however, is rise above them. Don’t sink to their level by responding to their negativity with more negativity. It can be tough to stay positive when you’re constantly attacked by someone who is mean and negative, but it’s worth it. Not only will you feel better about yourself, but you will also be setting an example for others. People will also start to respond positively to you if they see that you are always trying to maintain a positive attitude.
4. Set Boundaries
Setting boundaries is an important part of dealing with mean, toxic and negative people at work. You can take care of yourself from unkind and negative colleagues by setting a physical and emotional boundaries. A healthy boundary will help you to avoid the feelings of resentment, disappointment, and anger that build up when limits have been pushed. You can set a boundary with them by keeping your distance, avoiding gossip, avoiding unofficial conversation etc.
5. Talk to Them Privately
Having mean colleagues at work is measurable. But if they cross their limit, do not remain silent and suffer. You should raise your voice. You can invite them for a coffee after office and let them know that you are not enjoying their behavior. It will also help you to understand their perspective. By doing this, you may be able to solve the problem peacefully.
6. Acknowledge Their Feelings
It can be challenging to work when you have unsupportive colleagues around you. It is also easy to understand how you are feeling in such an adverse situation. But what you assume is not true always. There may be something else on the other side of the coin. Who knows, maybe they are also thinking that you are behaving rudely with them. Therefore, it is important to acknowledge others’ feelings to avoid emotional distance from your colleagues in the workplace. So, before judging anyone, put your feet in their shoes and try to understand their situation. You may see that their background and life experiences impact their conduct and point of view as you get to know them better. It will help you to increase your happiness at work.
7. Don’t Take it Personally
After a toxic coworker does something hurtful, you may feel sad for hours or even days. The best way you can avoid this is by imagining a wall between you and the individual. Whatever happens between you and your colleagues should be confined within the professional boundary. Don’t let them affect your personal feelings.
8. Stay Positive
Positivity is a great tool to deal with a stressful situation. But when you work with negative and toxic people, it is not easy to remain positive. Specially, when positivity appears to be nothing more than wishful thinking, it’s difficult to find the motivation to focus on the positives. Still, you need to be positive, self-aware and in touch with your feelings to fight negativity. If someone tries to harass you, be mindful and accept the criticism and tell yourself that there is nothing wrong with you. The other person is just having a bad day. Positivity will make you happy at work.
9. Use Your Sense of Humor
Humor is one of the most effective tools for dealing with stress. When you’re feeling overwhelmed by the mean and unkind colleagues, take a few minutes to relax and watch a funny movie or TV show, read a funny book, or tell a joke. Laughing releases endorphins, which can help improve your mood and reduce stress.
10. Find Support from Others
If you realize that it is not possible to deal with them alone, rind support from others who are facing a similar situation. Also, you can look for support groups or forums online or in your local community.
11. Talk to the Supervisor
When any of your mean coworkers start breaking the organizational code of conduct or have a detrimental influence on your job, it’s time to talk to your boss or human resources manager about it. Make a list of this coworker’s negative behavior so that you can prove what he or she has done. Your boss or human resources department is responsible for resolving the disagreement and ensuring that you feel secure and valued at work.
12. Seek Professional Help
If you’re really struggling to deal with unsupportive, negative and hostile colleagues and can’t seem to find relief, it might be time to seek professional help. A specialist or counselor can help you understand your emotions and give you strategies for coping.
Conclusion: Tips to Deal with Mean Colleagues
The workplace is almost universally seen as a stressful place to be. There’s pressure to perform, friction between colleagues and awkward social interactions on an almost daily basis. This pressure multiplies many more times when you have to deal with mean colleagues. Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that you will come into contact with people you don’t get along with very well, whether you work in a small team or are one of many employees in a large company. So, it is better to deal with them rather than being exhausted and leaving the job.