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How to Deal with Workplace Crazies
By Sonya Buck, Australia


Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time at work and this means spending this time with many different types of people.


If you are lucky you have escaped working with a difficult or crazy colleague (good for you!), otherwise you’ll need to learn to handle these people on a daily basis.


Here are just a few of the crazy colleague types you may encounter and what you can do:


Negative Nellys

Negative Nellys are particularly pessimistic about everything and believe nothing is going to work or go right. They can really be a buzz kill if you are trying to motivate a team. 


You’ll need to challenge them when they make a negative comment. Ask them, have they had bad experiences in the past which make them feel this way and let them know what impact their negativity is having on others (in private).


There are the other downbeat colleagues who when asked how their weekend was, spit out how bad it was each and every week. Distance yourself from them and just don’t ask them – it works!


Angry Adams
Always cranky, they rant and can be a loose cannon. Angry Adams can be intimidating and disruptive.  


There is nothing you can do to change them overall, but you can stop them in their tracks when they deal with you. Sometimes you can disarm them by saying you are worried as they seem stressed and ask what you can do to help. Otherwise, tell them you don’t work at your best when treated that way.


Remember Angry Adams are different to bullies and you must utilise your companies bullying and harassment policy and procedures, as this type of behaviour is unacceptable.


Know-all Noels
We all have them, inside and outside the workplace!  They think they know everything, have experienced it all and they aren’t open to your ideas. Their attitude can come from a place of insecurity or lack of confidence.


When you know their exhaustive knowledge of the universe is going to be communicated, (say when you are presenting work), ensure you have double checked your facts and sources beforehand. You might start to change their behaviour by asking really detailed questions and catching them out.


Alternatively, there is no need to spend all your energy arguing your side with them. Just say you’ll take on board their suggestions or say “that’s fascinating”!


Horrible Henriettas 
I might sound like a Negative Nelly (!), but some people can just be awful. Unfortunately, you’ll find colleagues with a whole combination bad personality traits and there is no changing them. You can wonder nature or nurture and thank goodness you don’t live with them, but all you can do is manage the situation the best way you can. Sometimes killing them with kindness will disarm the truly nasty, but remember not to trust them and try and avoid them where you can.


It’s important to remember, bosses probably don’t want to hear you complain about your colleagues unless it is directly affecting workplace function. If your colleagues are just annoying, sometimes there is nothing you can do, but shift your focus to your work and try and block them out.


If all of your techniques just don’t work and it’s seriously making YOU crazy, ask for a transfer of department or if you can’t avoid them, it might be time to move to another workplace.


Remember, there seems to be one workplace crazy (or two) wherever you go, but luckily the good people outnumber the bad.