There is no company in this world which has employees involved in perfect work relationships. While there are lots of kind and tactful people in the workplace, the mean and the inconsiderate linger all the time. They always see to it that their colleagues work in the most hellish ways possible. Engineers are not at all exempted with this environment. May it be in the office, the site, or the laboratory, engineers will always have co-workers who will malign your character, question your motives and suck the fun out from your jokes. It feels like they were born to annoy you at work. Especially when the job requires a lot of coordination than individual work, it feels forced to interact with each other and manage situations together.
This is actually a good thing, according to a professor of management science at Stanford University, Robert Sutton. He said that it’s not possible or ideal to have a team comprised entirely of people that you like – there will always be that black sheep. It only means that the engineering life we have is just perfect, even if it doesn’t feel so.
So how should engineers deal with this? Here’s how:
Accept that you are not going to like everyone
This is the first step towards dealing with other people with different attitudes, beliefs and backgrounds, so you wouldn’t try to change them or them to change you. It’s part of reality of life that we are created differently, which is actually a good thing.
Do not ignore or dismiss them
Instead, just bear with them. You have your own stance and treatment in a lot of things that vary from others. You do not want others to treat you the same way – that’s the golden rule of mankind. Treat them as civil as possible. You are professionals, and engineer for that matter, so act like one.
Have the right expectations
You do not want your co-workers to catch you by surprise, so having your mind prepared with what others can do is the way to do it. You’ll be disappointed or frustrated if you set the bar too high.
Focus on yourselves
Think about the rationale of your reactions rather than the others, as that will help you understand situations more. Turn inwards – you might be the one with a problem and not your co-worker. Plus, it’s much easier to change yourself than asking someone to do that. Adjust appropriately.
Tell what you feel when necessary
There will be cases that the conflicts are not intended and confronting is the solution. Engineers have to be wary about provoking emotions though. Talk calmly and discuss to resolve mutual concerns.
When all else fails, give space
Bad for you if you are obliged to interact with that annoying person at work on a regular basis. But if you know when and how to distance yourself, after you’ve tried talking it out, he or she might just realize that both of you better settle your issues with each other rather than just keep at it again and again. You’ve exhausted all your means – you know you have done your part – and the best thing to do is just allow some gap between you two.