The Best Way to Avoid Grudges in the Workplace

The raise we were wrongly denied, the promotion someone else got that we weren’t considered for, the coworker who always seems to find a flaw in our code and point it out in front of the team, etc. Grudges in the workplace happen, they’re a part of human nature. But this negativity can weigh you down and cause added, unnecessary stress. Want to avoid them? These five methods are the most effective.

1. Don’t Conflate Making a Mistake With Being a Failure: It may be frustrating to work with someone who makes a critical mistake, leaving you with twice the work to do and not enough time to do it, but that doesn’t make them a failure. You shouldn’t hold yourself or your coworkers to impossible standards of perfection. A lot of grudges come from conflating a mistake or series of mistakes with labeling someone a failure or incompetent or intentionally, maliciously setting out to ruin your day. Preventing these mental escalations and labeling will help you avoid grudges altogether.

2. Find Ways to Improve Communication Going Forward: Some grudges form due to a simple breakdown of communication. If you’re looking to avoid them altogether, improving communication with your coworkers is the best way to do it.

3. Accept That You Won’t Like Everyone You Meet: Other workplace grudges are formed by people who simply don’t like each other. The important thing to remember is that you won’t like everyone you meet and that’s just fine! As long as you can find a way to productively work with someone, accepting that you won’t ever like them or be friends is perfectly acceptable. So many companies focus on that “family-like” culture but, especially in larger companies, the odds of you liking everyone are low. Find a way to work with people you don’t like and you’ll avoid workplace grudges.

4. Seek Common Ground: More often than not, you’ll be surrounded by coworkers who are all doing the same thing: trying to do the job well while balancing the daily grind with the rest of life’s demands. The coworker who left your email off of the group meeting invite wasn’t intentionally trying to exclude you, they were probably just distracted by something else. The boss who criticized your code more than everyone else’s might have seen a better teaching moment in your mistakes than your coworkers’. Whatever the case may be, holding on to these small resentments and letting them escalate into grudges won’t do you any favors. Seek common ground and try to understand where they might be coming from rather than assuming everyone is out to get you.

5. Find a Healthier Work Environment: If grudges are commonplace in your office, you may be in a toxic work environment. This swarm of negativity can drag you down into the muck no matter how positive and resilient you are when you start out. If this is the case for you, take the time to start a job search so you can find a healthier work environment. It may be the best way to avoid workplace grudges and added stress.

Don’t let workplace grudges slow you down or stress you out. Use these effective methods to avoid them altogether or get over them quickly if they do occur. You’ll be happier going to work every day if you’re free from these pesky workplace grudges!