Working in the medical field is full of stress-causing factors, including having an obnoxious colleague who’s difficult to work with. Dealing with someone like this on a regular basis can really add to the stress in your workplace. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it. Consider the following tips on dealing with difficult colleagues in the medical field.
- You can’t expect instant change.
An individual can take months or even years to develop an attitude, which means it will also take a long time to change for the better. Simply telling your colleague to change is like telling them to change their personality then and there. Not only is that impossible, but it can also have the opposite effect and cause them to be more obnoxious or even openly hostile towards you.
- Remember that it’s not your fault.
Nobody decides to be obnoxious towards people on a whim. Remember that whatever’s causing your colleague’s attitude could be anything from issues with their household, personal health, or even finances. Never take their attitude personally since it also encourages you to harbor negative feelings towards them (and yourself).
- Hear them out
It may seem like avoiding a colleague with a bad attitude altogether is a good idea, but it only reinforces a bad relationship between you two. There are some times when it’s easier to tolerate people with a bad attitude if you understand why they act that way. Hear them out; ask them why they act that way. They don’t have to open up to you, but letting them know you want to understand them can help ease the situation.
- Set your limits
While forcing them to change is out of the question, you still have the final say on what offends you and what doesn’t. Be honest with your colleague about what you will not tolerate, but say it in a respectful manner. For example, telling your colleague “I’d appreciate it if you don’t make fun of my hobbies,” sounds a lot better than “Shut up about my hobbies!”
- Don’t retaliate
It might be tempting to get back at an obnoxious colleague, but retaliation is easily one of the worst things you can do. Instead of “teaching them a lesson”, you’ll more likely end up with a more hostile attitude towards you and it can be even more difficult to get back on good terms with them.
- Stay safe
While most displays of negative attitude don’t really mean much, do stay vigilant in case it takes a turn for the worse. If your colleague issued threats – especially those involving physical violence or sexual harassment – don’t hesitate to let the higher ups know what’s up.
The medical field is all about bringing good health to other people, but it can still take a toll on your own mind and body. Keeping healthy relationships with the people you’re working with and resolving conflicts before they get out of hand encourages everyone to have each other’s backs even during stressful times.