How to talk to weirdos at work
Christine Schoeff is VP of human resources and organizational development for Vibes, a mobile marketing company. In her opinion, “life’s too short to work with creeps.”
But what to do when a co-worker tells an off-color joke, hangs up a gruesome poster or commits some other minor indiscretion that doesn’t merit a trip to the HR office? Schoeff shares some of the best ways to approach a co-worker who’s crossed the line without sounding uptight or condescending.
• Make it a conversation instead of a lecture. Warm up by asking for feedback on your own demeanor and performance before jumping into your workplace concerns.
• Find common ground. A co-worker may think the one about the rabbi and Dalai Lama was totally hilarious. Instead of locking horns about bad taste, find something that’ll speak to them, like the joke’s effect on team productivity and cohesion.
• Get personal. Just because someone has a penchant for discussing the tail end of their Saturday night in alarming detail doesn’t mean they’re a villain. Rather than attacking the individual, keep comments focused.
• Point fingers. A co-worker may not be aware they’re being creepy, so ease into the discussion by asking them to empathize with their colleagues. Do they see why their replica bayonet might make others uncomfortable?