Jake Thompson | Keynote Speaker and Mental Performance Coach

How Competitors Handle Bad Coworkers

So you work with someone you absolutely cannot stand?

Been there. Done that. Most all of us have. If you’ve ever been in a setting where you were put on a team with others, the chances you’ve had to work with someone you don’t like are high. Take any group of people with different personalities, agendas, and backgrounds, throw them together and you’ll have an adjustment period.

School projects. Team sports. Corporate clients. I don’t think I’ve ever been on a team where I liked everyone.

And that’s ok.

But how do you successfully handle those situations?

It’s never an ideal situation to have friction with a teammate you’re supposed to partner with in order to achieve a bigger goal, but it happens all the time in offices and locker rooms across the world. This past weekend the National Football League held its annual draft. 256 college players were drafted by NFL teams, and hundreds more signed as undrafted free agents. It’s a guarantee that many of these players will not get along with all of their new teammates.

Veterans know that some of these rookies are here to try and take their job. There’s no room for friendship and loyalty when there’s money on the line. But the best in the game know this: they can’t control the coaches, the new rookies, or their teammates. They do 100% control themselves though and if they want to hold onto their position, they have to prepare, practice, and play harder than ever.

It’s not ideal to work with someone who may be trying to take your job or is just a pain to deal with on a daily basis. The people who can successfully navigate these situations are the ones who excel beyond this immediate situation and continue to rise in their career. Want to as well? Do this:

Focus on what you control

There are a lot of things in this life that we don’t control, but the four we always do?

  • Our response
  • Our effort
  • Our attitude

We dictate each of these for ourselves. It’s easy to blame a coworker for why we exhibit a bad attitude or why our effort on a specific team project is lacking, but that’s simply us making excuses for where we’ve messed up. Excuses are what we use to try and shift responsibility off of us and onto others.

But it’s not that person’s fault you responded to them the way you did. It’s yours.

That coworker may be toxic to work with, but they don’t choose how hard you work. You do. Your coworker may not work as hard as you do on a team project, but their choices shouldn’t influence yours.

It doesn’t matter if we’re a high school athlete or a VP of sales for a nationwide organization, we will work with people who we don’t always “click” with. Most people use it as an excuse to shirk responsibility off of themselves. Competitors commit to what they control – their focus, their effort, and their attitude – and don’t give that control to someone else.

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