How To Handle Mean Coworkers

Question to Ask the Workplace Doctors about incivility:

In the past few years, I’ve noticed the presence of “mean girls” — unprovoked nastiness, incivility, rude, unprofessional, unwilling to share info or be a team player. How can I handle these women? Why does this jr. high behavior persist??? Why is it allowed?

Signed, Tired of Girls Behaving Badly

Dear Tired of Girls Behaving Badly:

Your observation that there are a lot of mean-spirited and mean acting people (including or especially women) is one that we hear from many frustrated people. I hear it in almost every group with which I am involved. (I’ve often had people talk to me about mean coworkers–and others later identified them as the meanest of the group!) I recall such mean cliques from my early employment time. Sometimes it was just irritating but often it was hurtful. Mostly it was–and is–demoralizing, irritating and distracting.Apparently when people get together, unless there is an unusual group willingness to be civil or an effective oversight presence (supervisor or manager), at least some part of the group easily turns into something like Lord (or Lady) of the Flies!

read more