That Troublesome Work Colleague and the Personality Clash

A client contacted me to ask for a suggestion as to how she might manage a situation at her work. I gave her a couple of suggestions and I told her that her challenge is something we need to cover more deeply. My client’s challenge was with a work colleague. It’s someone she has regular contact with and who is generally a pain in the butt.

These types of people are in every work place. You know them, they are the types that are always cranky, short with people, always right and single handedly disrupt the workplace.

Is That Troublesome work colleague or You

That troublesome work colleague. Personality clash

Be responsible with your relationships

That troublesome work colleague doesn’t have a problem, you do. You’re the one who finds them the pain in the butt. You can bet that if you were to ask them they would tell you they’re just going about their business. People often call these conflicts in a relationship a personality clash. It’s an interesting term, considering the personalities of the two people are usually so very different. I think the personality clash term is a cop-out. How often do you hear “I don’t like working with so-and-so because we have a personality clash!”

 What to do?

Let’s put the solution into your Call to Action.

Call to Action

  1.  First, you have to acknowledge that it’s your responsibility to do something. Leaving the relationship the way it is now and hoping it will get better is not being responsible. Yes, this other person may be higher up the promotional ladder, on the same rung or lower down, it doesn’t matter, you have to do something. Remember, you’re the one with the problem. It could be that the other person is not even aware that there is a problem.
  2. Next, you have to look at the situation as a challenge that has a solution. Everything has a solution, we just need to change our perspective slightly and believe the change of perspective will work.
  3. As you change your perspective by looking for a solution, you can help yourself further by looking at the challenge with your colleague through one or a number of different lenses. Let’s take a quick look at those lenses.

Looking at that Troublesome Work Colleague Through Three Lenses

Reverse lens:

This is the lens where you put yourself into the shoes of the other person. Just as you have stresses and challenges in your life, so does that other person and you haven’t a clue what those stresses may be. He or she may have family problems, a sick child or parent, may be stressed with something happening at work, or any number of things that happen to us in out daily life. Once we’ve thought about what the other person may be going through, that’s all we do, we don’t take it on, we accept that person with their problems and then step back into our own life.

Long Distance Lens:

This is where we think about the problem for what it is now and then project ourselves a day, a week, a month or even a couple of years into the future. How do you think my client will think of her challenges in six months time? Trivial, minute, off the radar? I would think so. You have the same capacity to do this. You would agree that next week you’ll have other more pressing challenges to think about and today’s problem with your work colleague will have paled into insignificance by then.

Wide Angle Lens:

This is the lens we use to get what we are about into true perspective. Think about your problem with this person, then think about your home, family, friends, where you live, your city, and your country. You’re pretty lucky aren’t you? You live in a beautiful home or unit in one of the best countries in the world don’t you. You don’t have a famine like the people in the Horn of Africa, nor do you live with earthquakes, or floods that wipe out thousands of people. And even if something does happen you live with an infrastructure that helps you.

These lenses make your challenges with your colleague pretty insignificant, don’t they?

Follow these suggestions for that relationship. You can even extend them to other emotional things that are going on in you life.

Have the best outstanding day,


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