Career advice

Keep calm and carry on: advice on dealing with a difficult colleague

Walking away may not be an option, so here's some tips on turning round your relationship with a challenging team member 

Dealing with difficult colleagues is part of working life, and nursing is no exception. Day-to-day challenges can lead to emotive situations.

Conflict at work can be caused by power struggles, says Christopher Lewis, who runs an occupational psychology consultancy.

'Most problems stem from the need to have power and influence over others. What makes people different from each other is how they do this. They may shout and scream or may be timid, but this can still be a strategy to get others to do what they want,' he says.

Common situations include making disrespectful comments in front of patients or colleagues, and verbal aggression. Colleagues might also appear to be excluding individuals by not keeping them informed, or by behaving unfairly, says Andrew Moore of South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

It is not always possible to walk away from a difficult colleague at

...

Want to read more?

Unlock full access to RCNi Plus today

Save over 50% on your first three months:

  • Customisable clinical dashboard featuring 200+ topics
  • Unlimited online access to all 10 RCNi Journals including Nursing Standard
  • RCNi Learning featuring 180+ RCN accredited learning modules
  • NMC-compliant RCNi Portfolio to build evidence for revalidation
  • Personalised newsletters tailored to your interests

This article is not available as part of an institutional subscription. Why is this?

Jobs