We’ve all been faced with situations that have resulted in needing to confront a coworker. It can be awkward, and sometimes dangerous, to confront a coworker about an issue if it’s not done in a careful manner. Learn how to effectively confront a coworker about minor issues without damaging your relationship.

Go over the issues first

If you are agitated and confront a coworker prematurely, it can turn out to be a mess. Lay out all aspects of your issue and how they should be addressed in your mind before taking them up with your coworker. This eliminates extreme feelings getting in the way of a productive conversation.

Before you speak with your coworker, decide:

  1. The actual issue or areas of discussion
  2. What causes the issue, or what generally happens before the issue arises
  3. How you can turn the situation as positive as possible
  4. Possible resolutions for the issue
  5. Things you can do to prevent the problem from happening again (if anything)

confront a coworker

Set a meeting

This can seem like making the problem a bigger deal than it is, but it really creates a safe space to discuss problems in. Even if you add a 15-minute block of time on your coworker’s calendar, it is an uninterrupted time slot where you can express your feelings and bring any issues to resolve. Depending on your work environment and relationship with the coworker you need to speak with, this meeting may mean a coffee or lunch date, or just a few minutes spent in a conference room. Gauge the situation and the coworker’s personality to pick the best setting in which to discuss issues.

Don’t blame or condemn

Even if you believe your coworker was in the wrong, don’t blame them or condemn them for their actions. You are both adults and everyone makes mistakes. Oftentimes, others aren’t realizing how their actions are being received by others. Bring your feelings to the table and lead the coworker to realize how their actions are making you feel. According to themuse, starting off a conversation by assuming your coworker was out to get you is an unhealthy, and usually, incorrect way, to think about the situation at hand.

Pick your battles

It can be tough not to bring frustrating things to attention, but try to look at the grand scheme of your work environment before taking up every issue in the workplace. It can be tempting to call out your coworkers when they’ve done something you don’t agree with, but as long as it’s not breaking any rules, try to be a team player and focus on bigger matters at hand. Think about the outcome of the conversation before you bring up an issue. Will bringing up this issue spark real change and solve it? If the answer is no, you’re probably being a little picky on what you bring up to your coworkers and may need to reevaluate. That being said, don’t let serious issues go unaddressed for too long, as that is not healthy for anyone!


For most minor issues with a coworker, having an open discussion can be the key to moving no and preventing further offenses. For more serious issues, don’t be afraid to go to your boss or an HR employee, especially if you don’t feel comfortable confronting your coworker alone.

If issues with your coworkers are starting to take over your work life, look into new, refreshing opportunities by contacting an Alliance Solutions Group recruiter today!

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