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7 Solutions to Deal with a Disruptive Colleague

By Kelli White
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Collaborating with your event team means working with a variety of people and all kinds of personalities. From time to time, you may find yourself disagreeing with a colleague or working with someone who has a less than stellar attitude.

At the end of the day you must find a way to work with everyone involved in the event process in order be successful. So how do you do it? How do you find a way to get along with someone who is being rude, unhelpful or a downright pain? Here are a few tips that will make you a master at working with anyone and everyone during your events.

  1. Build Relationships

Often times a misunderstanding between colleagues can really come down to miscommunication. Do your part to build quality relationships with your team and the people you will be working with throughout an event.

In order for a group to work well together they really need to know and understand each other. Take the time to do team building exercises, bond over a meal or attend multiple planning sessions before the big event kicks off. Small efforts like this will go a long way in the collaboration and communication between your team.

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  1. Squash the Drama

Addressing a problem early and head on will often lead to the quickest and most impactful solution. When you have an issue and you let it fester it can significantly impact everyone involved with the event and grow into a much larger problem and running events there is no time for delays.

Going to someone directly and honestly with your concerns, explaining the challenges you need to overcome and finding a way to work together will lead to much better outcomes. Sometimes this is all it takes to diminish a problem between two people or with one person who is impacting the entire team.

If a team member hears directly from you as the lead on the event, they may take immediate action to change and adjust their actions. Sometimes this is all it takes and if it is done early it can avoid many bigger and more complicated problems within a team.

  1. Kill Them with Kindness

On occasion you can address your concerns with someone and they might still have trouble seeing the point or taking action on your feedback. At times like this you might just find yourself having to be the bigger person.

Depending on how long the event lasts, how difficult the person is and how long you have to work with this individual, it could be in your best interest to kill them with kindness and overlook the disagreement. I have worked with plenty of people who had a different style, attitude, or perspective and sometimes you just have to embrace it for the good of the group.

  1. Listen

When you are posed with the challenge of a difficult colleague, try your best to see the issues from the other person's point of view. Before you see someone else as a problem or a threat to the event, be sure that you are fully listening to their perspective.

Occasionally things that are different or outside of your normal routine may seem threatening and disruptive, but upon further review they might not be that big a deal and perhaps something you can look past.

Open communication and listening to each other is so important for coworkers in any industry, but especially in the event world. When you communicate and address problems early on you will find the best results and solutions to your challenges.

Keep in mind that everyone has their own life going on outside of work and you never know what type of struggles a person could be experiencing that are impacting their attitude. This is why it is so important to build relationships and listen to your team. They may have something more serious that is behind their disruptive demeanor.

  1. Make Your Needs Known

Properly communicating the needs for your event to your staff can make all the difference in the behavior and attitude of your event team. If every member of the group feels valued, informed, and a part of the event’s success they will work harder for you and be more productive for the team.

Having defined tasks or event responsibilities can also make it easier when you need to address someone about their work. Being able to point to specific areas of improvement can open the lines of communication and help everyone to know where they stand as a successful part of the event.

  1. Adjust Staffing Assignments

Don’t be afraid to change up the staff responsibilities. Sometimes an individual might be better suited for one area of the event opposed to another. For example, if you have someone who is being unpleasant towards their co-workers or the guests, you don't want them working at the registration or check in area. Perhaps they are more suited for a behind the scenes role and not at the front line of your event.

Everyone has bad days and sometimes roles need to be adjusted. Try to analyze the team and place people in roles based on who is able to best execute each task at hand. Talk to your team and see where they feel they would be a best fit. They may be open and tell you if they are having an off day, or if they feel like they need to be in one area over another.

  1. Find What Works

With the right coaching and leadership, almost everyone has the ability to improve and become a part of a successful event team. Depending on the situation it may just take some time to get to know the person, what they best respond to, the roles they are best suited for and the proper way to work together.

Once you can find some common ground you can usually adjust and learn to work together for the greater good. If you don’t see a positive future for the relationship you might have to cut ties in one way or another, but hopefully this option is a last resort.

In Conclusion

The event industry is a wonderful opportunity to work with people from a variety of different backgrounds. This can be an awesome part of our job, but can also come with it’s fair share of difficulties.

By being open, communicating properly and listening to new ideas you will set yourself up as someone who is approachable and hopefully easy to work with. Do your best to find what works for your team and your event. With a little patience and time your team will be working together efficiently and effectively for more successful events.

about the author

Kelli White
Kelli White has 10 years experience in event management, creative marketing, volunteer coordination and non-profit fundraising. You can follow her at @kellimwhite.
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