How to Deal With a Coworker That Plays the Victim

How to Deal With a Coworker That Plays the Victim
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Remembering everyone has skills and shortcomings when working in a team atmosphere is critical. Feel free to speak up if you see someone not doing their part.

It’s acceptable to criticize them for their shortcomings. It’s preferable to bring up these problems early because it allows you time to brainstorm solutions.

Stay impartial and concentrate on what’s best for the current project if you feel like a teammate is going crazy about anything. Avoid being sucked into conversations about what an “asshole” they are.

Don’t allow this individual to guilt-trip you. Instead of concentrating on changing their behavior, try changing yourself.

This article will describe how to handle a coworker who always plays the victim. We’ll also discuss handling a coworker who continually complains about everything. These are a few of the most typical scenarios that team members go through.

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1. Define Objectives and Boundaries

The first step is to set clear goals and boundaries. It’s important to define your expectations from each other before starting work. This will help avoid any confusion later on.

For example, let’s say you’re working together on a project where one person is responsible for designing the UI while another is responsible for coding it.

You should ensure that both people know exactly what they must do. For instance, explain to the UI designer that you need to get some mockups done by the end of the week so that you can start coding.

You also need to clarify whether you expect the UI designer to meet all deadlines or most of them. If there are no deadlines, asking him to prioritize his tasks is normal.

You must set clear goals and boundaries to avoid being stuck in a never-ending discussion. You may even find yourself getting frustrated as well.

2. Recognize the Indications of a Victim Mentality

A common problem among coworkers is playing the victim. They complain about everything without taking responsibility for themselves.

The term “victim mentality” refers to believing you’re always being victimized, no matter what happens. It’s easy to see how someone could develop such a mindset.

For example, if you’ve been fired from a job, you might believe that you were unfairly treated, even though there may be valid reasons for the firing. Or perhaps you had a car accident and thought someone else had intentionally caused it.

Victims often blame others when things go badly, if they don’t achieve a goal or target, or if they don’t receive the recognition they deserve. Victims also tend to focus on their problems, expecting others to feel sorry for them. And victims often reject opportunities to enjoy themselves or participate in company events. In short, they act like martyrs.

If you notice that this is happening, take note. Don’t tolerate this kind of behavior. The sooner you address this issue, the better.

One way to identify such behavior is to look out for signs such as:

  • Complaining about something without offering alternatives.
  • Blaming others for things that aren’t their fault.
  • Making excuses for their mistakes.
  • Being overly sensitive to criticism.
  • Failing to show gratitude.
  • Not accepting responsibility for their actions.
  • Feeling guilty after making mistakes.
  • Acting entitled.
  • Being overly emotional.
  • Having unrealistic expectations.
  • Showing jealousy towards others.
  • Playing the blame game.
  • Lying.

3. Encourage Problem-Solving, Discourage Venting

Be sure to try to solve the problem at hand before an argument starts. Instead, talk with your coworker when they seem calm and relaxed.

It’s not uncommon for people to vent during arguments. However, venting escalates conflicts and leads to more hurt feelings than necessary. So, if you notice your colleague becoming upset, try to encourage them to use problem-solving techniques instead.

When possible, offer solutions. This will help your colleague realize that you’re interested in finding ways to resolve the situation.

Try to avoid using phrases such as:

  • I’m sorry I didn’t understand.
  • It was my mistake.
  • I thought you would agree.
  • I wish I hadn’t said that.

This will only increase the tension between you two.

Instead, say:

I want to discuss our disagreement.

  • What should we do?
  • What are some other options?
  • What can I do to help you feel better?

Try to create a positive environment by avoiding negative comments. For instance, if your coworker says something along the lines of:

  • You shouldn’t have done that.
  • You shouldn’t have said that.
  • That wasn’t fair.
  • You need to apologize.
  • You shouldn’t accuse me of anything.

This will only make your coworker defensive.

4. Concentrate on teambuilding

Team building activities are great fun. They provide a good opportunity to bond with your colleagues and get to know each other better. These activities can include team-building exercises, social outings, or group projects.

Your coworkers probably will only want to participate in these activities if you ask them first. But if you want to start a team-building activity, here are some suggestions:

  • Ask questions. You might be surprised how much information someone will share with you.
  • Be friendly. People usually open up to new friends.
  • Take turns. When one person talks, everyone else listens.
  • Share experiences. Everyone loves stories.
  • Have fun together. Laughing together makes it easier to communicate.

5. Consult Your Human Resources Department

If you’ve tried everything else and nothing works, consider consulting your human resources department.

They’ll be able to give you advice on what to do next. If they recommend you go through mediation, you’ll most likely have to pay for this service yourself.

However, no guarantee going through mediation will work. It depends on the company culture and whether or not both parties involved are willing to compromise.

If mediation doesn’t seem appropriate, consider taking legal action against your coworker.

However, remember that there are better options than filing a lawsuit. Many times it backfires.

6. Establish Clear Communication Channels

A common mistake in projects is that teams must communicate more effectively about what’s happening. If a team member doesn’t know something, they won’t tell anyone. They’ll keep working without telling anyone else. And if someone does find out, they’re likely to say nothing because they feel guilty about letting everyone down.

This leads to a situation where no one knows what’s happening, and things start falling behind schedule. To avoid this, establish clear lines of communication.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Make sure everyone knows how to report problems or issues. You can use email, instant messaging, or even voice calls.
  • Have regular meetings. Regularly scheduled meetings allow people to raise concerns and ask questions. These meetings can include everyone involved in the project, including stakeholders and management.
  • Set deadlines. People tend to take ownership of tasks once they set a deadline.
  • Provide feedback. You show people that you care about their performance when you provide feedback. This helps motivate them to perform better.
  • Keep track of progress. A simple spreadsheet can help you remember who’s doing what, when, and why.
  • Use tools like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, etc. These tools make it easy to organize all kinds of information.
  • Communicate. Refrain from assuming that people understand what you mean. Explain everything clearly.

7. Recognize Their Feelings. Don’t Validate Their “Victimhood”

You might think that by validating their feelings, you’re helping them. But often, it can cause more harm than good.

When people experience negative emotions such as anger, hurt, or sadness, they need time and space to process them. By validating their feelings, they could end up feeling worse.

It’s important to recognize that people are sometimes thinking differently. They might be angry at you for absolutely nothing to do with you. Or maybe they’re mad at themselves for making mistakes.

Don’t try to validate their feelings. Instead, focus on understanding what’s causing them to act the way they are.

It’s also important to realize that sometimes people can be victims of circumstance. For example, they may have a bad day, but it has nothing to do with you or your behavior.

If you think someone is overly sensitive, don’t dismiss them. Try to listen carefully and look for patterns. Maybe they’re experiencing a lot of stress, affecting their judgment.

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The important thing to remember in this situation is to never place yourself in a position where you have to accept responsibility for the deeds of others. The individual acting is the only one accountable for what they do.

In other words, you should never “accept the responsibility” for another person’s actions. You should only take ownership of your acts.

There are several things you may do to assist defuse the situation if a coworker is acting as the victim.

The first step is to make an effort to comprehend why they are acting in this manner. You can begin developing a remedy after knowing their driving forces. Don’t hesitate to contact HR or another authority figure if the issue continues.

Finally, remember that it’s crucial to preserve your sanity and avoid being overly involved in other people’s drama. Contact our professional resume writers immediately if you need assistance handling challenging personalities at work.

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