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Korrespondenz auf Englisch - Vom Umgang mit schwierigen Kollegen

Schlagwörter: Englisch, Korrespondenz, Englisch im Büro

There’s an old aphorism that circulates among entrepreneurs: ‘The best employees are no employees’. At the end of the day, however, this saying is useless. Any entrepreneur knows that to build a successful business, employees are essential — and they should be the best the business can afford. But there’s an element of truth in the saying: it can be difficult to manage and deal with employees. Sometimes they just don’t get along. This not only can create bad morale within the team, it can reduce the business’s productivity and efficiency.

Various studies reveal that 30-50% of all employees report that they have to deal with at least one co-worker whose behaviour is irritating, unacceptable, or even downright counter-productive. They usually fall into one of these categories:

  • Whiners and complainers.An occasional complaint is everyone’s right. But constantly?

  • Interrupters.Interrupters never let anyone finish a statement because they think they’re more important than everyone else.
  • Gossips.These are the ones that spread horrible news and make you worry that you will be classified as a gossiper just for listening.
  • Know-it-alls.Yes, no matter what the fault is, know-it-alls point out why it occurred. The trouble is, they’re often wrong.
  • Slackers.These are the ones that do the minimum, leave everyone else on the team to pull the weight, and still insist on being treated as equals.
  • Brown-nosers.These are the ones that sacrifice any relationship, stab anyone in the back, and say anything necessary to curry favour with the boss.


The first natural response to such co-workers is silent irritation. When the behaviour doesn’t end, it can turn into frustration. After that, if you don’t address the situation, it can lead to demoralization, a negative team spirit as everyone takes sides, and even all-out war. Here’s how to handle the situation before it gets out of hand.

Assess the situation

Irritation and frustration are well-known for clouding a person’s view of the interpersonal problems they’re having. So before addressing the situation, try to defuse it first by following these steps:

  1. On a sheet of paper, write down very specifically one or two sentences that describe the behaviour that’s getting on your nerves. Word your description professionally, as if someone from Human Resources might read it. Be careful not to personalize the behaviour ( ‘He is always like this’, ‘She’s horrible’, etc ). This process helps remove the emotional element from the facts.
  2. Create three columns under these sentences. In the first column, describe whom you believe the behaviour is directed at. You? The team? The business? No one in particular? In the second column, write down up to three bullets that describe how you believe the behaviour is affecting the work of those who are exposed to it. In the third column, write down up to three bullets describing how the situation is negatively impacting the business. Be careful not to personalize any of this information.
  3. Assess the facts you’ve written down. Consider the offending person’s work assignments and conditions. Imagine his or her perspective. Is there any way in which the bothersome behaviour could be justified or explained? A yes here does not mean you should ignore the situation, but it may help soften the emotions.
  4. Assume you were an executive responsible not only for employees but for a million other problems in the business. Would you regard the situation as important enough to deal with, or would you think — in executive shoes — ‘what a bunch of kindergarteners’?


Handle the situation

In most cases, it’s better to handle difficult situations before they get too far out of hand. Here are your options:

  1. If the situation has not passed the executive interest test, try ignoring and avoiding the behaviour.
  2. If it passed the executive test, you should take action.
  3. Schedule time for a private meeting with the person. Discretely share your concerns about the situation. Say that you are hoping to find a way to improve your working relationship, which will pay off for everyone. Be prepared to admit your own contribution to the poor communication.
  4. If this doesn’t work, you have to again consider the business importance of the problem. The next step is to escalate the matter to your boss. Keep in mind, however, that many bosses are unskilled at handling such situations, or are unwilling to step in. If your boss has poor people skills, escalating the matter may cause even further damage. If you do speak with your boss, be sure to position the situation as a purely business matter. Refer to your assessment notes, and keep the discussion impersonal. Only if you get nowhere with your boss — or your boss takes action that has no effect — should you escalate to HR.


Some example words

I think we haven’t been seeing eye-to-eye lately and I’d like to speak with you privately about it.

It’s important to the business that we find a way to work together harmoniously. I don’t think either of us wants to get on the other’s nerves.

The two of us haven’t been making very good music together lately. I think you’re probably aware of this too. I thought we might take a moment to review the impact this might have on the business and determine a way we might both work together better.

A number of people on the team are becoming resentful of a general attitude of arrogance that is going around, and they suggested the two of us might be able to spearhead an effort to create new rules for everyone to follow.

I’d like to make you aware of an interpersonal issue that seems to be escalating on the team and ask you to get involved before it begins impacting our productivity and timelines. I’m willing to do whatever it takes to help you keep things on track.

Schlagwörter: Englisch, Korrespondenz, Englisch im Büro

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