I have a co-worker who seems to have a problem with me. She tells me the work I do is bad, doesn’t include me in conversations, and keeps saying I’m in the wrong field. I’ve told my supervisor, but he just tells me to ignore her. I’m still having a very hard time working with her and her negative attitude. How can I handle this situation? – Roni in San Diego, CA
TINA: Unfortunately, experiencing difficulties with co-workers is not uncommon. From your question, I am not sure of the direct relationship that you have and whether you need to interact with this individual on a daily basis. If that is the case, I would first attempt to have a conversation regarding her problems with your work. Can she provide specifics? You might want to take the higher ground here and ask what you can do to improve your relationship.
If she is not willing to have a conversation, and you must have contact with her in the course of doing your work, then this needs to be escalated to the proper authorities. You mentioned that your supervisor has said to “ignore her” – clearly, that is not a solution. You will need to document and have this addressed to your satisfaction. Management has a responsibility to provide you with a safe place to work.
LYNN: Roni, we have an entire chapter devoted to the topic of working with difficult people in our book, Practical Wisdoms @ Work. It will go into much more detail than my brief answer here. Have you ever had a conversation with this person to ask how you could work more effectively together? Schedule a meeting in a conference room and let them know you are uncomfortable and feeling concerned about your working relationship. Stress that it’s about your feelings and your desire to learn how you can move forward. You may be surprised at what you learn during this discussion, and you can forge a path to a mutually beneficial working environment.
Practical Wisdoms @ Work, Chapter 9: Dealing with Difficult People.
Lynn Whitbeck is the co-founder and President of Petite2Queen. She is focused on identifying and evaluating opportunities for women at work, helping them define their personal roadmap. She dedicates herself to delivering tools and insights, embracing visualization of the big picture, and identifying and implementing the minutiae of detail. Lynn aims to share lessons learned along her journey and enable positive uplift for women.