It is Monday morning, and you overslept. On top of spilling hot coffee all over your shirt, you missed your 8 am Zoom debrief meeting with the rest of your office. Just when you think the day cannot get any worse, you remember you have a team meeting in the afternoon. “Lovely,” you think sarcastically, “I’m sure Kathy will have something to say about my absence this morning.”

You can’t choose your parents, and you can’t choose your coworkers, either. And when your spiteful coworkers get going, you sure wish you could. Sadly, working remotely does not eliminate catty colleagues from your life.

Work drama and office politics create distracting conflict that negatively impacts a company in numerous ways, including damaging company culture and production volumes. Luckily, work disputes, whether they are based on simple immaturity or long-standing rivalries, can always be resolved. Here are five strategies to help you get along with toxic coworkers:

Strategy #1: Alter your mental reaction

Stanford University professor, organizational psychologist, and bestselling author of The A—–e Survival Guide, Robert Sutton, has spent many dedicated years towards studying unkind employees. He says that you can use psychological tricks to change your mental reactions to unpleasant company.

When trouble comes your way, try to ignore ill-mannered remarks entirely and continue to focus on working. Just remind yourself that any adverse comments do not matter to you what-so-ever, and the root of the problem is all on the opposing party, not you. If you let bullies get to you, then they win.

Strategy #2: Disarm with humor

This type of tactic is excellent for those who are clever with humor and can shut a situation down with a chuckle. Though this strategy is not useful for everyone, it works for those who can tap into the funnier side of life regardless of the situation.

Strategy #3: Separate feelings of personal attack

If you take everything your snide coworkers say personally, you will dig yourself into a deep, dark, emotional hole of anger, frustration, and unhappiness.

Strategy #4: Build an imaginary wall

Mentally allow yourself to believe that your bitter colleague’s words can never touch you. Every time that specific individual finds their way into your space, you can imagine a wall between the two of you, and that wall will not let anything get to you.

Strategy #5: Choose to observe wildlife

Wildlife in the office? There might as well be with the way some destructive coworkers act. Play a mental game with yourself and pretend that the person trying to get under your skin is a wild animal, and you are the explorer observing it in its natural habitat. You might be surprised as to how easy it will be to tune him or her out. You will be able to emotionally detach yourself from the matter while possibly laughing at nature, too.

Mentally changing your reactions to weaken a bully’s impact is challenging but possible. For more strategies and tips on how to sing “Kumbaya” with malicious coworkers, give StaffScapes a call: excellence in HR outsourcing in Denver since 1996! Contact us today and let our team assist in setting you up for a more peaceful, pleasant, and productive work environment.