Hey, I’m sure you’re great at your job. You probably do excellent work! But do you sometimes find that you rub your coworkers the wrong way? Do you think it’s possible that you’re a bit difficult to work with?

If so, don’t worry. You can repair your working relationships. You’ll just need to make a few small changes in your behavior.

According to author John Boitnott, people tend to be viewed as difficult for three specific reasons. Here’s a list of those reasons, and what you can do to make things better:

Reason #1

  • Difficult people focus on themselves too much – Difficult people tend to talk about themselves, their problems, and their concerns almost exclusively. They rarely ask their coworkers what they’re doing or how they’re feeling.
  • What to do about it – To correct this problem, you just need to shift your focus onto your coworkers. Start asking your coworkers questions and then really listen to what they have to say. Effective listening is one of the most important interpersonal skills. People who know how to listen are better able to communicate with others, avoid misunderstandings, and resolve conflicts.

Reason #2

  • Difficult people are often passive-aggressive – When they’re upset, difficult people tend to vent by engaging in passive-aggressive behaviors. They ignore coworkers who have annoyed them, they make snarky remarks, they procrastinate on tasks that they resent having to do, etc.
  • What to do about it – We all get stressed out and frustrated at work sometimes. The trick is to know how to deal with that stress and frustration effectively. Instead of engaging in passive-aggressive behaviors, try taking a walk, complaining to a friend, or engaging in some other type of healthy, stress-relieving behavior.

Reason #3

  • Difficult people get jealous – It can be hard to share the spotlight with a talented coworker (especially for people who usually get all the accolades). But feelings of jealousy can often result in off-putting behaviors, such as being mean and sarcastic, or minimizing another employee’s accomplishments.
  • What to do about it – Try to stop comparing yourself to other people. Focus on your own goals and successes. Remember that you’re great, you do good work, and there’s nothing wrong with occasionally stepping back and letting other people shine.


Boitnott, J. (2018, February 14). 3 signs you’re the toxic person in your workplace (and what to do about it). Inc. Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/john-boitnott/3-signs-youre-toxic-person-in-your-workplace-and-what-to-do-about-it.html?cid=hmside2