Working with someone who drives you nuts can range from the co-worker who is simply too loud to the one who has no control over their “personal habits” (Did he just hack up a hairball?) to the person who is an outright ogre to be around. Every one of these employees obviously make some contribution or they still wouldn’t be there (we hope.)
So how do you work along someone like this?
Listen more and talk less.
We spend so much time trying to convince the other person we are right, we fall to actually listen to try to truly understand where they are coming from. The division of political discourse is falling into our work communication. Compromise is becoming a sign of weakness, instead of a sign of strength, and this is making finding common ground much more difficult.
Anticipate the discomfort and prepare.
Instead of fretting over the impending confrontation, why not strategize how to find something you can both agree upon and build from there? Through relationship building, words become clearer and intentions become known, therefore, constructive criticism tends to be received better from friendly acquaintances than from combatants.
Focus on what you enjoy, instead of what you find frustrating.
Thinking “If only he would…” is an exercise in fantasy and a waste of time and energy, not to mention creates a mindset rife with disappointment. Focus on what the other person does well (there is always something) and give that greater weight in your thoughts of this person than in the habits that frustrate you.
Ask for their help on something they are very good at.
When you invite people to help you out on something that is in their wheelhouse, you get to have a common victory. Winning together builds bridges.
I’ve had to remind myself over the years, “No one can make me have a bad day, unless I let them.” If I allow them to drive me nuts – they win. If I can find a way to get beyond that – I win. If you work with someone who drives you nuts, it’s an opportunity for you to find a victory.