Friday, December 16, 2011

How to Deal With Pet Peeves in the Workplace

Pet peeves in the workplace are annoying, but you can learn to deal with them.

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Sooner or later, everyone deals with pet peeves in the workplace. Even if you genuinely like your co-workers, it doesn't mean you like all of the things they do. Whether it is the guy next to you who constantly cracks his knuckles, the team member who spends too much time on social networks or the co-worker who leaves dirty coffee cups everywhere, you are bound to be annoyed some of the time. Dealing with pet peeves in a professional way helps you maintain good relationships among the people you have to spend a lot of time with.

Related Searches: Pick Your Battles

You need to decide which pet peeves you can and cannot live with. If you constantly ask everyone around you to stop doing everything that annoys you, you can quickly become their pet peeve. If something is offending you, such as bad language or dirty jokes, or is causing ineffectiveness in your own work, such as a team member constantly calling in sick, make a plan to confront the problem. Otherwise, balance whether bringing up the pet peeve will be damaging to your co-worker relationship.

Confront Your Co-Worker

You want to prepare yourself to confront your co-worker about the annoyance in a casual, friendly manner. If you sit someone down and highlight a specific way they are obnoxious, you are likely to put them on the defensive. Be honest and forthright by saying something like, "I love jokes, but so many of the ones you tell are demeaning to women and it makes me feel disrespected," without being too inflammatory, or in another way, "Your jokes are so offensive. If you don't stop, I will report you to Human Resources." You want to keep a good relationship with your fellow workers; however, you have a right to stand up to offensive behavior.

Enlist Your Boss

A co-worker is more likely to better take requests for change from a boss rather than a peer. Although it's probably not a good idea to ask your boss to intercede with the person who brings tuna fish for lunch every day and smells up the break room, you can certainly ask for intervention with a co-worker who is easily distracted, always arriving late or is prone to spreading vicious gossip. Cohesion is important among employees in the workplace, but the boss is there to see that things run smoothly. Again, pick your battles when you approach your boss for help.

Distract Yourself

Determine what you can do to minimize the annoyances. Headphones can block out obnoxious sounds from the next cubicle. Alternatively, you can make an effort to talk on your own schedule to the co-worker who always disturbs your work to talk about her kids. Keep a flameless candle at your desk to mask smells from the perfume addict or bring a cooler to keep your lunch in at your desk if it keeps getting swiped from the refrigerator. Try to focus on what you can do to block out the pet peeve as opposed to changing it.

Lead by Example

Take a look at your own behavior and ensure you are being a good example before you point fingers. There are things you can do to minimize the bad behavior of others. For instance, change the subject when the office gossip wants to talk about Bob's problems with his wife. You can also wash your own dishes before making a public request that everyone else remember to do theirs. Recognize that sometimes you cannot change the behavior of others, but you can react well and set a good example.

ReferencesFemmeonomics: Dealing With Jerks and Quirks at WorkSheckys: Nicole Williams on Workplace Pet PeevesGreat Leadership: The Results Are in: 2010 Top Workplace Pet PeevesPhoto Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty ImagesRead Next:

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