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Surviving the Dysfunctional Co-Worker

Posted 5 years ago

Chances are good that you’ve had a dysfunctional co-worker at least once in your career – maybe even twice? Admit it, we’ve all experienced workplace conflict that seems to repeatedly occur with the same individual. But what happens when normal, healthy conflict takes a turn for the dysfunctional? When the typical exchange of conflicting ideas becomes completely counterproductive, irrational and even challenges your job fulfillment? Coach Tammy Holyfield believes the road-map to surviving these relationships begins in the micro – with our daily approach to several very specific choices. We can’t change the other person, but we can change our reACTION to their ACTIONS.

Surviving the Dysfunctional Co-Worker

by Tammy Holyfield

Love your job but your co-workers… Not so much! You know the ONE, that dysfunctional co-worker. You know, the “KNOW it ALL”… the one that thinks it is his job to micro-manage every project that the team has to do. How do we get him to understand that he is not the boss? We all have coworkers who occasionally, or frequently, drive us up a wall. But, effectively dealing with the difficult behaviors of coworkers will have more to say about WHO you are than HOW they act. Your reaction to dysfunction will demonstrate your maturity and competence as a valued, contributing employee at work. But it’s hard to do what we know is right. Right? The first step to peace of mind is to realize we have the freedom to choose our response to any circumstance.

How will you CHOOSE?

1. Avoid or Address Choose ADDRESS. Peace should be a top priority in any organization. The ability to address and resolve conflict is essential to effectiveness, productivity and profit. Studies reveal a staggering 35 percent of employee time is spent engaging in–or trying to resolve–conflict. When emotions are high, intellect is low.

2. Gossip or Grace Think about it… which would you rather be the recipient of??? Choose GRACE. The ability to work together in harmony, to extend grace and to resolve inevitable conflicts are indispensable skills to long-term success. However, many organizations are far from peaceful. Instead they are faced with conflict, escalated tension and continual frustration. They are not working together for a common goal; they are in competition with each other.

3. Me or We Choose WE. By transforming the environment and attitudes to more of a collaborative culture, an organization can achieve systemic and cross-functional global goals while enhancing the personal performance of each team members. Collaborative Cultures Make a Profitable Difference We are better than me, is a recipe for success. The challenge for leaders is to concentrate more on creating a culture of TEAMWORK that produces more energy than it consumes. When people are focused on individual effort or internal competition it consumes valuable energy. The result of this collaborative culture is a source of competitive advantage. It creates a place that is constantly improving and inspiring ordinary people to do extraordinary things. “Don’t find fault; find a remedy.” –Henry Ford From the Coach: Unity is often overlooked in the market place because we are trained to compete. But if we look at working together we see that where there is unity there is Success!

Ask Yourself: WHO’s really our competition? Is it inside the organization? Or are we our own competition by NOT working together? Who can I extend grace to this week? Instead of seeing fault I will choose to find a solution. Where can I do this?


Tammy Holyfielddysfunctional co-worker is a business development strategist, professional speaker, leadership expert, author and consultant, on a mission to teach and inspire people to improve their everyday life. Using the methods and principles she teaches, Tammy has overcome great obstacles. Her message is dynamic, encouraging people to succeed and inspiring them to act! Holyfield began her professional career in marketing and served as the Director of Marketing for Summit Pet Product Distributors, the IAMs Pet Food (Proctor and Gamble) regional distribution center. Today, she is the founder and CEO of Holyfield Consulting, a personal and business development company. Holyfield Consulting specializes in organizational development, strategic planning, communication, building trust, strengthening teams, leadership development, increasing accountability and executing results. Each week she writes a column entitled “Ask the Coach”® which provides readers a fresh perspective on current challenges facing the business world. Tammy addresses thousands of people each year from diverse Fortune 500 companies and has consulted, and trained entrepreneurs, CEO’s, professionals and individuals from all walks of life. Her ideas are proven, practical and get results. And clients say that working with Tammy created an increase in moral, solidified corporate culture, and bridged the communication gap from vision to results. Her audiences and clients agree, Tammy teaches techniques and strategies that are easy to understand and put to use immediately to achieve greater results in their lives and careers. Her latest book hit number 2 on the Amazon Best-Seller list, co-authored with the legendary business development expert, best-selling author and speaker, Brian Tracy. “Counter-Attack: Business Strategies for Explosive Growth in the New Economy” will feature Brian Tracy along with leading experts from around the world across diverse fields of business.