If you get along with all of your coworkers there is no need to read this. But, if there is someone who annoys you or drives you nuts then take assurance that you are normal. Even in church world we encounter difficult coworkers.

But, how do you deal with them? We’re all supposed to be Christians and fighting for the same thing, but that’s not always the case because there are people who:

  • Are always shooting down your ideas
  • Walking around with a negative attitude
  • Constantly interrupting your work flow
  • Talking about you behind your back
  • Eating your lunch even though your name is on the bag!

What do you do about them?

You should ignore them and hope the problem goes away…wait!? That doesn’t work?!

That’s because it doesn’t address the problem. If you want to learn how to work with difficult coworkers, especially in the local church try:

LIFTING THEM UP IN PRAYER

A coworker once taught me a simple prayer for those who were giving me a hard time. The prayer is simple its:

Lord Bless those around me and mold my heart to be more like yours.

It’s a selfless and very difficult prayer to mutter but the more you do it the more it changes your heart to:

  1. Look at your coworkers as God’s children and not so much like enemies
  2. Listen first and respond later

It all starts with your attitude and that comes from embracing humility and praying for others before you.

INVESTING IN THEIR PERSONAL LIFE

How well do you know your coworkers? Could you name their spouse and kids? Where did they grow up? What do they do in their free time? You don’t have to become best friends, but knowing their story will give you context to their behavior.

  • If they seem irritable or sluggish ask them about their morning
  • Take them out for a bite to eat or a cup of coffee
  • When you learn something about them follow up and ask them about it

Check in with them regularly, but be sincere. Don’t just ask them, “How are you doing?” to seem friendly, do it because the investment is worth it.

CELEBRATING THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS

We all tend to go through periods of isolation where we believe, “No one else cares about the hard work I’m pouring into this.” It’s a lie and the way we combat it is by celebrating others.

As you get to know what your coworkers do congratulate them when something big happens. It doesn’t have to be anything big, but it should be authentic. You little acknowledgement will make a huge impact.

COMMUNICATING FREQUENTLY ESPECIALLY DURING UNCERTAINTY

The key to a healthy team is trust. Trust develops from constant communication because it allows coworkers to be on the same page. People are informed, no one is left in the dark; therefore, no surprises that could leave bad feelings.

But, increasing your communication is more than just talking and listening. It’s also important to:

  • Address conflict early. You don’t want to let problems stew and grow into something that it is not. If someone wrongs you bring it to them quickly and privately. Share with them your feelings so that you can get back on the same page and find healing.

 

  • Remove any gossip. You know it’s gossip if you are having a conversation with someone and neither of you are a part of the problem or the solution. It’s in cases like this where you need accountability and dismiss the negativity.

 

  • Ask questions and refuse to assume. If you aren’t 100% certain of the answer do not assume. Too often people will make an assumption about how someone will answer or react without testing it out first. Asking someone for clarification will ensure that you are both on the same page.

Communication is paramount to a healthy team. It builds trust and clarity and with that your team can work better together.

In the end it’s not about being best friends with your coworkers but showing them respect. Your investment might not change them but it will help you handle their unique behaviors without losing your head.

What would you say are the top 3 characteristics of a healthy team? 

As a parish consultant and ministry coach I work with churches to build healthy team dynamics. If you are interested in my services don’t hesitate to set up a consultation HERE.

For additional resources check out Patrick Lencioni’s books:

The Ideal Team Player

The Advantage

The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team

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