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Coworkers can be very annoying! At Your Office Coach, we hear from lots of people who want their colleagues to stop doing something – talking, whistling, coming in late, eating at their desk, wearing tacky clothes, and on and on. These complainers are usually looking for an easy, painless way to deal with the situation. That may be impossible, but here are some helpful suggestions.
In most situations, talking directly to the person is preferable, since that gives them a chance to correct the problem without getting in trouble. But if your colleague is explosive or highly defensive, your manager may be a better route.
To make your complaint, try using a technique called “I-statements”. With an I-statement, you focus on the problem you’re having instead of what’s wrong with your coworker, then you ask for what you need. A well-worded I-statement, delivered in a friendly tone, doesn’t sound at all confrontational.
Group problems require group solutions. So if the whole work unit is upset, then the message should be delivered by more than one person. Otherwise, the problem coworker may not recognize the extent of the problem. In some situations, it’s best for the whole group to confront the person. In others, it’s better for a couple of people to represent the group.
Then it’s time to go to the boss. But you need to do it in the right way, because you don’t want to come across as a whiner.
You must define the issue as a business problem, not a personal complaint. Otherwise, your manager may view it as a personality conflict. And bosses really hate dealing with personal employee squabbles!
If the annoying behavior doesn’t affect work results in any way, then you need to work on your attitude and just let it go. We all must work with people who irritate us from time to time.