Co-worker Driving You Nuts? Be a Professional: Talk About It

Healthy work relationships between employees are one of the keys to success for a small business. In a small firm, there is little space, few people, and team members are likely to work together often — if not every day.

So what if two people seem to harbor a grudge? It is each employee’s responsibility to act in a professional manner and deal with the situation. I have found in my 20 years of owning a small business that it is best if problems are discussed openly and respectfully by the individuals involved. Most importantly, the discussion should focus on the problem and not on personalities.

If you’ve got a problem with someone, say for example: “You know, I feel like something isn’t working between us. I’d like to figure out what it is so we can get back to work on this account. Can you talk now?” Remember to stay focused on the problem, keep emotion out of the conversation, be ready to propose a solution to the situation, and ask the other person if he agrees.

Peter Post Director, The Emily Post Institute Burlington, Vermont