If there has ever been a man who has been faced with challenges of opposition both at home and away, then it is King David. First of all his father completely forgot about him when a prophet came calling at their house and enquired of him. Later he was asked to go home and tend to sheep by his brothers when he went to visit them on a battlefield. Then he had to kill a giant to prove he was not a dog like he was referred to. He later had to flee his home because his father in-law, King Saul wanted to kill him.

There are people like that in the world of work too. You can call them antagonists; they could be your managers, supervisors or colleagues. They are the people who are always in your face for one reason or the other. You sometimes do not know what you did to spot a place on their hit list. It is a little bearable if the person is your colleague, that way, if a problem arises, you can deal with him or her on a level playing field. However, if the “killer” happens to be your supervisor or manager… let’s just say it is a beef you should never attempt to grill.

There have been instances where some people have been forced to quit their jobs because they were antagonised by their colleagues or superior. Yaw a colleague, who faced this kind of challenge during his national service tenure said, “the HR Manager in the company he worked at did not like him because he was ‘’cool’’ with a lady he fancied.” I have also heard stories about ladies who had “she-bosses,” and these bosses were always on their case because it was perceived the ladies were better looking than their bosses. How about the colleague who wants you out of the way so he can have your job? Always snooping around to find a fault so he can snitch. These people can consistently be a pain in the rear if they decide to.

Nevertheless, you should know that the working environment is almost a hundred percentage human resourced. People are not like robots who are programmed to function in a certain way. Working with people means having to deal with all sort of characters that come your way. Not everyone who opposes you is out to get you or has you on a hit list. Some are intimidated either by your persona or your knowledge. Kwabena another colleague said he had a supervisor who was constantly on his case. He would always heckle him with one task or the other. At first he thought the supervisor did not like him but later, he realised it was because the supervisor thought he was a threat to his job. There are some managers also who are obsessed with perfection and would turn you into a deadly prey if you do not do the task they assign you in the right way.

So the big question is, how do you deal with antagonism at the work place? There’s no easy way to handle an antagonist, because they are usually puffed up with a sense of self-importance.  Rather focus on channeling the antagonist’s harsh criticisms into constructive feedback.  If he or she is your colleague, go to your manager and discuss your feelings, so your colleague can be spoken to. In dealing with an antagonistic boss, Robert Mueller, a San Francisco labour lawyer that advises that you approach your bullying problem like you would a project. “Be methodical in how you behave, perform, document and strategize. Take notes after an incident. Try to stay unemotional. Even though he is trying to make you think that you are the cause of the problem, it is the bully who has a serious personal and professional problem.”

If after employing these methods and you are still facing these challenges, then it could be your resignation clock ticking  it is time to move on.


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