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How to Deal with Cranky Co-workers

We all work with people who are less than sunshine during the day.  Perhaps we ourselves are the ones spreading the crankiness.

Being cranky, however, does affect job performance, morale and even a promotion. Being able to improve morale and productivity as well as cheer someone up will not only make you look good in management’s eyes, but your own.

Here are some steps to deal with cranky co-workers:

Give them the space they need to read their emails, get coffee and listen to voice mails before jumping into a conversation with them.  Ask when it would be convenient to discuss something with them that is work related.

I once worked with a woman who needed a good 15 to 20 minutes to take care of things.  Unless something was pressing, I knew to keep my distance.

Ask, in a nice tone, if they are okay and if you can do anything to help.  If appropriate, ask your manager if you can help with any workloads, if it is in your range.


Sometimes co-workers are swamped and feel as though they have to do everything.  Offer your help, If they don't take it, at least you made an effort.

Don’t be part of the problem by being cranky back.  Don’t take anything personally.  What others do is a reflection on their beliefs and mentality and has nothing to do with you.    Seriously, we tend to take things personally, when in reality, most people behave in a manner of their own making and it has nothing to do with us.   I suggest reading a book called The Four Agreements.

Many times we let other people's moods affect our own, thinking we are being sympathetic or guilty for feeling good. Do not allow it.  Continue to be pleasant to others and put in a good day's work.  Eventually this person's disposition will show.   They will not look so good when held up to the light, but you will.

Set boundaries about what are your duties and what are his so there can be no blame games.

If your coworker does give you some work to do, ask them to explain how they want it done so there isn't any confusion and you cannot be blames for messing things up later on.  Set clear boundaries as to what is acceptable behavior and what is not.  I f a coworker is insulting or gossiping, you have to develop a strong enough constitution to stand up to him or her.    If their person gossiping about you or insulting you is your boss or manager, ask if there is something in your job performance that needs improving.  And don't care what they think of you personally.  A mature, professional person can look beyond personal traits and personality to a person's work ethic and  professionalism.

Take advantage of an employee assistance plan if coworkers seem to be getting to you.  If you feel uncomfortable on the plan, than seek outside counseling and support.

Most cranky co-workers are unhappy because the job they are in, is not their dream job.  Ask your cranky coworker what their dreams are and if they can take steps toward it.  Many people are now experiencing financial problems.  It is common wisdom to not ask about salaries and wages, however, you can make life better for yourself by taking steps to get out of debt, invest wisely for a return on investment and to save money in order to pursue a life of your dreams.

Dont' let them get to you.  Your highest duty is to yourself, to find a job that you enjoy that fills a need in the community, to create wealth, to establish good working relations and to live a balanced life.  Don't let anybody get in the way of that.


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