How to deal with badly behaved colleagues

This week I heard about an issue at work that’s not that uncommon, where someone’s ego has overtaken their good sense and is causing problems for everyone around them.  We all have bad days at work.  Something happens unexpectedly to ruin the day or expectations are not met or something demotivating or denigrating is said.  I’ve never understood why some people feel it’s OK to make life difficult or unpleasant for other people.

There have been two occasions when I have been shattered by the unexpected at work – once I didn’t see it coming at all, once when I should have seen it coming but didn’t.

The first was about some research I completed for the Department of Health which my line manager then passed off as her own work, removing my name completely from the published document.  The second was when I was pushed over a glass cliff (like a glass ceiling only more painful!) in a way designed to cause the maximum stress and insult to me and to my role in the organisation.

These were two very dissimilar incidents – or were they?  With hindsight – such a wonderful viewing lens – they had one thing in common and that was a total lack of professionalism from those involved in creating the trauma.

There are, of course, occasions when standing your ground and maintaining the moral high ground is the right course of action.  However, there are also times when there is no good reason to stay to be a party to their dishonesty and machinations. What would you have done in these cases?  You can read what I did at the foot of this article.

These sorts of problems happen in all types of organisations and all sectors of the economy so you have probably witnessed these kinds of incidents.  Unfortunately, a fair number of us will have been on the receiving end.  So, what can we do to make sure that we can rise above the abuse or provocation and behave in a mature and measured way? 

Well, I’ve said it here before and I will say it again.  Excellence in all things, professionalism as a way of life. 

Take a look at The Golden Rules and feel free to download them.  Put them up over your desk or hand them to someone who looks to be on the brink of losing control.

If you would like more tools and tips to develop your workplace skills and self-protection then How to Spot a Dinosaur will be useful.  You might even choose to share it with your colleagues!

Or give me a call if you have an issue you would like to discuss in detail. Our first chat is free of charge.

What was my response?

After much heart searching and acknowledging to myself how furious I was at such treatment, I retained my dignity by walking away from the insult.  In both cases I knew that I had completed my work, had acted with excellence and professionalism as I normally did, so it was their loss not mine. 

The aftermath was even more interesting!

In the first case, I ensured that I had an exit interview so that my views were conveyed to management.  It transpired that they already knew what she had done and - amazingly - she had done it before.  So, I felt completely justified in leaving as they obviously did not have the courage to tackle such a critical professionalism issue inside their organisation.

In the second case, I later found out that all concerned had lost their jobs within the ensuing 18 months because the organisation realised that it had to get its house in order.  So, I was justified in not putting up with the treatment I had received. 

Talk about live and learn!