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No Conflicting Advice

by Randall Craig on January 6, 2009

Filed in: Blog, Communication, Make It Happen Tipsheet, Retention

Tagged as: , ,

There are great colleagues, and there are bad colleagues, and you have to work with them all. But what happens when your interaction with the bullies and the slackers begins to influence your success? Here are some strategies you might use to get back on track:

Approach them: It may be that the offender is unaware of the impact of their actions. Gracefully let them know about the impact, and suggest an alternative.

Seek advice: There are many others around you – mentors, coaches, colleagues, HR, and friends, to name a few – that may have additional perspective. Ask them for their advice, and possibly for their help to resolve the situation.

Stand up for yourself: Having a war with others at your workplace is both counterproductive and career-limiting. However, a workplace bully often chooses conflict only with those who don’t stand up for themselves. Demonstrating that you’re not a push-over is often the fastest way to block a bully’s bluster.

Learn from them: We can learn something from everyone – even those who are disagreeable. While this strategy won’t stop a conflict outright, if there is going to be a conflict, at least you can learn from it… and the person who started it.

Speak to their manager: if their behavior impacts your ability to meet your job objectives, and a direct approach proves fruitless, then speaking to your manager – or theirs – may force the issue to resolution.

Remove yourself from the situation: A change in your routine might be all that is necessary to avoid the problem (or the person). If the offense is serious and ongoing, it may mean asking for a transfer, or looking for another job. There is a limit as to how much energy you should spend trying to resolve a conflict, and at a certain point, it makes more sense to use that energy to move you closer to your own goals.

This week’s action item: While it is easy to pinpoint your own bad colleagues, consider that others may actually see you as their bad colleague. Honestly review the relationships that you have, and determine who might define you this way. Then work to change your behavior, before the problem escalates even further.

Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register.

Randall Craig

@RandallCraig (follow me)



Randall has been advising on Web and Social Strategy since 1994 when he put the Toronto Star online, the Globe and Mail's GlobeInvestor/Globefund, several financial institutions, and about 100+ other major organizations. He is the author of seven books, including the recently released "Everything Guide to Starting an Online Business", and speaks across North America on Social Media and Web Strategy. More at and

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