We recently solicited readers to submit their most pressing career-related questions.
With help from Lynn Taylor, a national workplace expert and the author of “Tame Your Terrible Office Tyrant: How to Manage Childish Boss Behaviour and Thrive in Your Job,” we’ve answered the following: “I have a really annoying coworker. What can I do about it?”
She says there are all different types of obnoxious, rude, and offensive people. “Luckily, though, there are ways to tackle the many varieties. But it takes patience, tact, and the ability to see the big picture.”
The list doesn't stop there. 'There are sneezers, throat clearers, and much more,' says Taylor. 'Talk to your fellow worker in private.'
Try asking if they feel all right -- which is a nice gesture, but also a way to let them know you notice the annoying sounds they're projecting.
'One way to drive yourself to distraction is to get caught up in the ever-growing beat of pen clickers from aspiring percussionists; foot tappers; drawer slammers; and techno-notification zealots,' she says. 'Use diplomacy and be direct -- and make sure you've examined any of your own habits before you approach the offender.'
Does your deskmate think she's the next Taylor Swift?
'Singing, humming, and whistling can drive anyone to fantasize about crawling into your credenza,' says Taylor. 'Avoid the temptation to out-blast them or threaten to post their vocal murmurs on YouTube, with the help of your hidden iPhone. Instead, tell them it bothers you. You can try humour with something like, 'I know things can get humdrum, and I always have a tune in my head. But, lately I can't get 'Happy' out of my head. I like that song too, but…''
You start to cringe after every bad phone call or email that happens to your colleague, because you know the 'F bombs' are on their way. 'Diplomatically let your office neighbour know that you realise things can be really stressful, but the distraction can make things worse,' Taylor suggests.
If you find yourself alternating between your own private heater and fan due to your neighbour's obsession with office temperature, speak up. You likely have other frozen or overheated victims in the office. 'Try to establish common ground rules as a team and avoid going over your colleague's head for resolve,' she suggests.
'Bossy coworkers are as common as the office water cooler. Don't engage them, say you're busy with tact, and don't bully back,' says Taylor. 'If things become untenable, consider addressing the matter with your boss or HR.
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