Dealing With Tough Bosses & Co-Workers in HVAC/R

Dealing With Tough Bosses & Co-Workers in HVAC/R

In today's live stream, we discuss strategies for dealing with difficult bosses and co-workers in HVAC/R work. We won't get along with everyone in our workplaces, but we can figure out how to communicate effectively without letting them wear us down.
By Bryan Orr

If you work with negative people, let them be miserable by themselves. The best way to deal with them is to ignore them while you’re working. Instead of focusing on shared complaining, try to focus on the common goal of getting work done. Moreover, you can avoid contributing to a negative environment by leaving work drama at work and home difficulties at home.

Anger issues are common in our trade. You can deal with others’ anger issues by acknowledging the inappropriate behavior and understanding that you can’t communicate productively when tempers are high. When you have to address the behavior, don’t attack their character but be direct about how that person’s anger affects your work relationship. In extreme cases, give them space and walk away. If YOU are an angry person at work, try to address the root cause of the anger and work through it. Put structures in place that prevent you from lashing out at other people.

Careless people are also everywhere in our trade. You can deal with inexperienced people by remembering how you were when you were at their career stage; you can empathize with them and give them the appropriate space or tools to develop. If the carelessness comes from distractions, such as their cell phone, try to address the distraction and reroute the careless person’s attention to the job’s mission.

Micromanager leaders who tend to get over-involved in projects can annoy their teams at best or stunt their development at worst. These leaders can improve their relationships with their team by setting clear objectives and giving their techs the room to develop.

Sarcasm, rudeness, and condescension are all undesirable traits in the workplace. If you work with someone who is too sarcastic or condescending for you, calmly set that boundary with them that they can agree to. For example, you’ll likely want to draw a clear line regarding racist and sexist jokes. If you are sarcastic, rude, or condescending, try to focus on communicating in a way that accomplishes the mission.

Cliques and tribes will form in any workplace. However, they can be annoying and difficult to work with. Your goal is to develop as many allies and as few enemies as possible in the workplace. So, being kind whenever possible is the best way to avoid clique culture.

Nepotism is also a sad reality in some organizations, especially in a few family-owned ones. The best way to address it is to talk to a leader about it; be straightforward and express your desire to work for a merit-based organization. You don’t want to be a part of a business that shows favoritism towards family members anyway.

Many of the worst leaders refuse to invest in training and education. The best way to deal with these leaders is to know what you need to learn. Then, you can communicate your needs with your leaders. A leader who ignores that type of request is probably not worth working for anyway.

Egomaniacs are a particularly annoying variety of co-workers or bosses. The best way to deal with egotistical co-workers is to talk to them with a couple of other people to provide some perspective. It is much harder to reform leaders’ big egos; you must decide if that leader is worth working for or not.

Exaggeration and lying are also inappropriate at work. Those habits lead to poor training and misconceptions. When dealing with liars and exaggerators, feel free to ignore them or question their stories.

Dishonesty with customers is a serious flaw in the workplace. If you have dishonest co-workers, kindly try to convince them to do better. If your workplace is shady, the only solution is to work somewhere else.

Unwillingness to learn is also difficult to deal with. If someone has the potential to learn, help them learn how to “learn” by using similes and metaphors to build their mental models. Lazy co-workers and those who perform poor work also fall under this category. Again, try to help those co-workers learn to become comfortable with good, hard work by setting standards.

Overreactors can also cause discord in the workplace. Many overreactors care a lot about their work, so it isn’t a completely horrible trait. The best thing you can do is deescalate the overreactor’s emotions respectfully and show that you care about their concerns. If you’re the overreactor, take a step back and observe the situation.

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One response to “Dealing With Tough Bosses & Co-Workers in HVAC/R”

  1. Many of the techs I’ve dealt with that have a bad attitude and are lazy, weed themselves out or finally get fired by mgt. I try to distance myself from them and concentrate on the job and do my best for the customer even if it means going behind them and fixing their mistakes. It’s not my job to rat on the tech, it’s my job to.ensure the customers happy. Anytime I’ve ever mentioned flaws to a supervisor it goes onto def ears. So I keep to myself, keep my customers happy and head down. Let god sort them out.

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