Dealing With Moody Coworker the Smart Way


Is your coworker courteous and upbeat one day and a loose cannon the next? If so, you have a problem, like millions of managers at work. Read on to discover three ways to handle moody coworkers at work.

Researcher Sigal Barsade, Ph.D., in an article in Psychology Today, points out that emotions can have a ripple effect in the workplace. People tend to catch both positive and negative emotions from each other, and those moods can affect the decisions they make at work.

If your coworker is gloomy and depressed when he arrives at work, you can “catch” that mood and start to feel upset yourself. Or, as it happens in most cases, your coworker might have a huge amount of work to cope with, and are not able to hold things in place. In either case, it’s important to be able to manage the emotional spillage before it results in a workplace conflict. After all, you also have to work with this person every day.

If you happen to be around a moody coworker who is feeling particularly off, check it out: “Hey Jim, was it something I did or said?” “You seem a bit off today. Is there any way I can help?”

Doing so not only tells your coworker that their behavior is noticeable, it gives them an opportunity to either share what’s on their mind or correct their behavior.

Show kindness and respect if it’s something you did or said. You can apologize and let them know that you didn’t mean them to be upset, and fix a time to sort things out.

If it’s not something you’ve said or done, and you just happened to be there, let them know that you’re available to lend an ear.

Whatever the case is, let your moody coworker know that you’re happy to help, if you can. You might even invite them for drinks or lunch, where they can let off steam without any fear. Invite them to take a walk outside or grab a cup of coffee.

The purpose of the meeting is to not gossip, but to let them know that you care about their emotional well-being. Everyone has good days and bad days. But, you need to take action if the coworker’s attitude affects your performance at work. Most people tend to adjust their behavior when called out on their moodiness.

Have you had to deal with a moody coworker? How did you handle the situation and are there any techniques you’d like to share with us? Let us know in the comments below.

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