It can be annoying working with grumpy and impatient co-workers. Their constant whining and complaining can bring down even your most cheerful of moods and make working difficult. In fact, in office settings, grumpy colleagues are first on the list of stress provokers, according to Asset International. If you have your share of grumpy co-workers to work with, you could do a number of things to prevent them from getting to you. The basic strategy is to keep your reaction to their behaviour in check. Getting angry or aggressive with such colleagues is only going to backfire by spoiling your reputation.
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Ignore Mr. Grumpy. Do not let your grumpy colleague's constant ranting, raving and whining about his work and his co-workers --- including you --- distract you from your work or down your mood. Do not respond to his complaints with any verbal replies; remain silent. If you are worried that his constant complaints involving you may influence your own work reputation, put aside your concerns. Chances are that all the employees are aware of Mr. Grumpy and his nature and have experienced his crankiness firsthand; they have likely learnt the best way to deal with him -- ignore.
Deal straight. If the constant grumbling of Ms. Grumpy is interfering with your moods and work, just question her outright if something is wrong. Ask a question, such as, "Is something bothering you?" The typical cranky reply may be along the lines of a snappy, "Why do you ask?" Remain polite and just say, "Well, you have been sounding irritated and snappish. What is the problem?" Your genuine inquiry and politeness may compel an apology and a reply from Ms. Grumpy. If she gives you the reason for her crankiness, listen, nod and get back to your work. Listening doesn't mean you have to provide a solution to her problem. With this method, you would at least have made Ms. Grumpy stop grumbling and gained a few hours of peace for yourself.
Take it slowly. Avoid assuming that the crankiness and irritation Mr. Grumpy is exhibiting is because he has a problem with you, especially if you are working with Mr. Grumpy on the same project. Realise that every person has his own problems and his own ways of reacting to them. But, if Mr. Grumpy continues his behaviour, and it is beginning to affect you, question him. Frame a polite question in the lines of, "You have been very angry and irritated the last few days. I would like to know if it is in any way concerned with me. Please be honest with me."
Show your sarcastic side. Do it if you think you can let off some of your tension of having had to deal with Ms. Grumpy on a daily basis. Say something like "I love it when you sound so encouraging," or "You have enthusiasm more than enough for both of us. How do you do that?" It may not help the situation, but just maybe you will feel better.
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- Asset International; Grumpy Coworkers, Computer Problems Increase Worker Stress Levels; Rebecca Moore; February 2010
- Media Partners: Employee Handbook: Difficult Questions and Practical Answers
- "Bad Bosses, Crazy Coworkers & Other Office Idiots: 201 Smart Ways to Handle;" Vicky Oliver; September 2008
- Career Intelligence; How to Deal with Difficult Personalities; Cynthia Steele-Pucci