Cooperating with the uncooperative

Most offices have a few employees who simply can’t seem to get along with others. Someone who is needlessly arrogant, unwilling to contribute ideas refuses to participate in activities and ignores requests for help or guidance.

Dealing with Mr / Ms Uncooperative is often a task that leaves employees harrowed. Should they stick to sweet requests, resort to harsher means, or simply ignore the culprit?

Attitude wise

Attitude is the make or break element. The first step is to remind yourself that both the troublemaker and you are in the same team. Stop thinking of him /her as an enemy, and try to get along; the positivism will reflect in your behavior.

Condition your mind to deflect unpleasant behavior. I had a rather nasty co-worker who was always unwilling to help others if she was not directly connected with the project. Although was frustrating, I was careful to never take it personally. Eventually she settled down and things began to change.

While it is easy to pile on accusation stop for a moment and introspect! Are you in anyway triggering off this uncooperative behavior? Analyze your own actions to see where the problem is. Perhaps a lack of cooperation from your co-workers is simply a response to your unlikable behavior.

The key to dealing with an uncooperative co worker is to respond right. You needn’t give a quick comeback or a smart repartee. Take a moment and think. Compose yourself and give a deliberate answer. Essentially differing the response time ensures that you answer from your head and not your heart.

Never retaliate in kind – this is a potentially disastrous mistake that most employees make. Maintain your dignity at all times. Even when my co-workers are killing me with blatantly uncooperative behavior, I’m civil and courteous. I smile and keep the anger seething inside me to myself. If you react the incident will circulate as office gossip and may reach your superiors in an inaccurate manner. Refrain from discussing the troublemaker behind his/her back and don’t get into sarcasm.

Sometimes, humor can be good response. Instead of reacting aggressively just laugh! Your unexpected reaction will throw your co-worker off balance. Better still, their actions won’t even hurt if you take them with an ounce of humor!

Try to understand

I had a co worker who never shared information. After some months of his unwilling behavior, I found out that he was very insecure about his job as he had been unceremoniously laid off by his previous employer. Realizing his fears made it easier for me to deal with him and subtly inform him that his insecurity was needless. Another mistake most people make is judging others in comparison to themselves. It is important to understand that not everyone is the same. Just because you are overly cooperative doesn’t mean that someone who doesn’t meet your standards is uncooperative.

Make an effort

No co worker is worth giving up on without a sincere effort. Go the extra mile to understand and communicate with the troublemaker. Even casual conversations about the weather or sports can open up the lines of communications between both of you. There was a certain co-worker who often hassle me. I tried to talk – not about work but the world in general. We discovered that we both supported the same football club. One working relationship improved radically thereafter. Building on common ground can negate any on going differences on opinion. Further be nice in general. Acknowledge any good work they do, inquire about their children and share cookies at snack time.

When being subtle doesn’t serve the purpose don’t be afraid to take direct action. Sometimes it is important to take a stand and be assertive. So you could walk up to him/her and ask to discuss the problem. While ensure that you are firm in your approach do not get argumentative. Try not to put them on the defensive – stress on the issue, not the person. Dealing with an uncooperative co worker is vastly easier if you are willing to be open-minded and give them a fair shot.