Ideally all your co-workers are wonderful. Probably many are! But there are always those folks who are more difficult to deal with. Nothing necessarily rises to the level of justifying a formal complaint to HR. But day to day interactions can be miserable.
Tessa West, an NYU social psychologist and author of the new book Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them, joins us for this episode of Best of Both Worlds to discuss strategies. From Free Riders to Credit Stealers to Bulldozers, she’s got a full taxonomy, and ways to deal with each. I particularly like the idea of “fairness checks” for group work. You set group norms for very clear assignments. And then, instead of calling out the slacker, you praise people who did unexpected extras — which makes it very clear whose workload they had to pick up.
In the Q&A section, Sarah and I address a question from someone who is most definitely not a jerk at work. A scientist running a major research lab is trying to figure out how to help her students and postdocs set and reach their goals. How can you best mentor folks for whom the goal-setting process doesn’t feel natural?
Please give the episode a listen! And let us know if there are other work-related topics you’d like to see us cover.