Conflict between Co-Workers

Written by Bunga

Image from page 123 of “Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture 1913” (1914)
food co
Image by Internet Archive Book Images
Identifier: yoa1913
Title: Yearbook of the United States Department of Agriculture 1913
Year: 1914 (1910s)
Subjects: Entomology United States Fruit United States Birds, Injurious and beneficial United States Fish as food United States Beef United States
Publisher: U.S. G.P.O
Contributing Library: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library
Digitizing Sponsor: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library

View Book Page: Book Viewer
About This Book: Catalog Entry
View All Images: All Images From Book

Click here to view book online to see this illustration in context in a browseable online version of this book.

Text Appearing Before Image:
T C Opalescent Apple The S»C«i0 wiLHCINS CO r Yearbook U. S. Dept of Agriculture. 1913 Plate X.

Text Appearing After Image:
CJ?JU**t. Lizzie Peach TxesACHETTawii.Hei.Msco n • Promising New Fruits. 113 each of which has gained considerable prominence in somedistricts. Moreover, several unnamed apples of evident valuereported to be seedlings of the Winesap and which resembleit in many respects have been called to the attention of thisdepartment. It therefore seems probable that a rather highpercentage of Winesap seedlings possess more than the ordi-nary merit. The usefulness of that variety for breeding pur-poses is thus indicated. The specimen of McCroskey apple illustrated in Plate VIIIwas grown in 1912 by Mr. L. C. H. Ayres, of Midway, GreenCounty, Tenn. OPALESCENT APPLE. Synonyms: Hudsons Pride of Michigan, Hastings. [Plate IX.] EARLY HISTORY. The Opalescent apple originated with Mr. George M.Hudson, Shultz, Barry County, Mich. The circumstancesof its origin as given by him are as follows:1 A number of years ago I was digging out the oak stumps in my orchardand found a thick cluster of sprouts by the s

Note About Images
Please note that these images are extracted from scanned page images that may have been digitally enhanced for readability – coloration and appearance of these illustrations may not perfectly resemble the original work.

Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers


Conflict with coworkers is something which happens everywhere, be it school, the military, industry, or the office . It’s at its worst where there are few or no accountability measures in place. In these circumstances, it’s all too common to find an employee who charms fellow team members into getting the job done.


What you need to know before you take on anybody is that everyone is different; therefore, you must carefully consider your methods for dealing with them.


Take Mr. Sleepy for example, the laziest guy in the world. His sloth is making your project team miss deadlines and making all of you look bad. This happens everywhere that people are expected to work in teams, be it school, the military, industry, or the office. It’s at its worst where there are few or no accountability measures in place to make sure every team member is pulling his weight. In these circumstances, it’s all too common to find an employee who charms fellow team members into getting the job done while he looks busy. Everybody knows he’s spending his time playing minesweeper, but no one says anything about it.


You shouldn’t allow Sleepy to get away with it. Before taking action, though, you need to analyze him, figure out what his problem is, where he’s coming from. Before that, however, you need to make sure the coast is clear. There’s no point in spinning your wheels trying to correct the problem of Mr. Sleepy or any other office irritant in human form if he happens to be the boss’s son or a guy who knows where the boss has buried some skeletons. That’s a no-win situation, and you’d best spend some of your off-hours networking and perusing the help wanted ads.

Mr. Sleepy Has a Problem: Find Out What It Is

Let’s say you’ve got wiggle room. Before you and your hard-working colleagues confront Sleepy, try to get some clues about why he behaves the way he does. Perhaps he’s working above his level of competence. (Of course, we know that hardly ever happens in the workplace, don’t we?) Maybe Sleepy screwed up royally on some previous task and is afraid to risk bungling another project. Maybe he’s simply being passive-aggressive because he hates his job and feels trapped in it – But find out. Then you can use your insight into Sleepy’s situation to tailor the most effective approach.


For example, let’s say that, after taking Mr. Sleepy out to lunch a few times, you’ve discovered that he has all three problems: he hates his job because he feels unqualified, and he is unwilling to risk losing it by screwing up again. You and the rest of the team can then confront Sleepy with something like: “Boy, we really need all the help we can get on this project, Sleepy-boy. It looks like you’ve got slack time you could spare. Is there something bothering you about this project? You don’t seem to be working at full production. We know you’ve got a lot on the ball and can offer some real insights into the work. Maybe we can help you. None of us are out to shoot down anything you contribute. Right, gang? (Yeah, yeah, yeah.) What can we do to get your full involvement?”


Taking it to the Boss

If Mr. Sleepy protests that he is contributing, ask him to “bring us up-to-date on what you’ve been doing.” Now you’ve got him in a corner. But don’t do the expected and feared “gotcha!” Instead, cut to the chase and have him make a commitment to one small, easily-accomplished milestone. Give him lots of strokes when he completes it, then give him another task. Repeat as necessary. Praise his work to the boss, being sure to cc Sleepy.


If he doesn’t produce after all this, take the problem to the boss. If the boss shows no interest in taking action, take it to the boss’s boss. If no one in the chain of command shows any interest in getting this guy on the stick, it’s time to look for another job. You might as well: with the kind of managerial attitude it’s displaying, this company is soon going to go belly-up anyway.

Co-Worker Bullies

Grumpy is almost as common in the workplace as Sleepy; bullying is a worldwide workplace dilemma. One in six workers is the target of a bully, and some 80% of all workers witness bullying behavior without doing anything about it; presumably, they’re afraid to.

The targets of the office bully commonly suffer from depression or even worse because of the constant attacks on their psyche. If you are a target, know that it’s because you’re a solid and competent worker. As Gary Namie, a psychology professor at Western Washington University, was quoted in a USA Today article, bullies often target the most talented in the workplace because “the dolts don’t threaten anybody.”

This bullying bane of your existence may come in any shape, size, gender or level of authority. He or she is vindictive, cruel, and malicious, and enjoys humiliating targeted workers. Characteristically, he or she is deficient in the social skills of relating to co-workers or underlings; however, they are usually quite clever at kissing up to their supervisors.


Frequently, too, these people are esteemed by management for having unique skills that make them irreplaceable. Any company with “irreplaceable” workers has no flexibility and no decent succession plan in place. If this is the situation you face, seriously consider abandoning this ship. You may attempt to bring Grumpy around, but it will be an uphill endeavor that most likely will end in your defeat.


If You Have to Work With Them…

If you have to stay with this job and you must have contact with these people, there are a few things you can do.

You can try leveling with the bully, having a private meeting with her to ask her why she’s making your life miserable. It’s possible she might actually come out and say something like “There’s tremendous pressure on me from above to produce, and I feel I can meet production demands only by being firm with everyone.” That’s the kind of problem you can work with by proposing alternative avenues for getting the work done. Make yourself available to help, but only with the assurance she will not be bullying. You might even turn her into an ally. This doesn’t happen often, though, and she will more likely respond by blaming you for the situation. After all, she’s probably insecure and sees your strengths as threats to her future.


Another option would be to take the high road and ignore her antics. Once the bully realizes she isn’t getting through to you, she may re-direct her nastiness onto someone else. Typically, however, bullies take this as a challenge; when she fails to get a rise out of you directly, she might try another tactic such as talking about you in disparaging terms within earshot. She will rag about you with co-workers who are too afraid of her to come down on your side. She’s trying to get you to react by screaming and shouting at her, which would make you look like the office hothead. Don’t react. Plan another approach.


Want to know more? You can read more tips on How to get rid of Co-Workers, plus information to get rid of practically anything else that ails you – from bad breath to telemarketers to cellulite – at

About the author