At this point in your career as a Young Professional, you can say with certainty that dealing with unprofessional people at work is just a fact of life. Josh Hansen from has written a guide to offer some helpful tips on how to manage unprofessional conduct from colleagues.

1. Lead by Example

Sometimes people just don’t know how to behave in a professional manner, which is why you should try to subtly point them in the right direction. The first step in this plan is to ensure your own behavior is up to a high standard by being punctual, appropriately dressed, polite and responsible. Follow up by offering help where it is lacking.

2. Involving Supervision

While this should never be your first recourse, whistleblowing and escalating poor work performance might be a workable solution rather than punitive action against your colleague.

One less hazardous approach in such a situation is to talk with other workmates who might be sympathetic to discussing whatever is concerning you. If two or three of you feel the same concern, then you may find a way of bringing this up with higher management.

3. Establishing cordial, friendly relationships

Sometimes the chemistry between yourself and a colleague is not good. By being cheery and civil on every occasion, you may find you can establish a more neutral atmosphere in your contacts. Even if you hold different opinions, with a degree of mutual respect, you may both be able to agree to differ.

4. Owning Your Contributions

If it is possible that a colleague could attempt to take credit for your work, then the best defense is to publicize progress on your project as it proceeds. In this way, everyone will be aware of who is really achieving results.

If, despite this, your colleague continues to claim credit, then you should have a private meeting with him or her to set the record straight. If the matter is particularly important, then you should insist on a public retraction and take more public actions if this is not forthcoming.


5. Adjusting Your Mindset

Sometimes these problems can be almost unsolvable. You should always be realistic about the possible energy and time needed for a solution and also what might be the best outcome you could achieve. This review may well convince you that you should quietly look elsewhere for a job that will give you greater satisfaction. In doing this, you should do everything possible to make a graceful exit.

This post was originally published on in July 2014. takes no credit for the work of the author.

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