Women tend to like the shortest straight line to getting something done. And when weird behaviour gets in their way, they want it straightened out. Here's how to do that with difficult co-workers:
Remove the blame factor
"Oftentimes, indirect language works because it focuses on the project rather than the person. Instead of saying, 'You need to get it to me,' you can say, 'Reports must be turned in by ...' or, 'Payroll must be completed by ...' That way, people are less likely to feel accused or hounded."
Let people know the result of their actions
"When colleagues miss deadlines, I let them know the impact: 'If you don't get it to me until tomorrow, that means we won't have time to check it before shipping to your client,' or whatever. And make sure the impact is in relation to them, not you."
Talk in person or by phone
"It's notoriously easy to hit the wrong tone and come off sharp, imperious or brusque in email when you don't intend to. Use the phone or drop by their desk when addressing sensitive issues."
"When discussing problems, keep it short and direct. It minimises a stressful situation for both of you."
Handle a whiner with tact
"You aren't going to cure a whiner, but you might be able to cure her of talking to you. Don't ask open-ended questions, not even 'How are you?' Limit your greetings to 'good morning' and 'good evening.' And be busy - all the time. The words 'I'm sorry, I don't have time to chat right now' are your friends. Know them, love them, use them."
Do your homework
"When you go to your boss with an issue or problem, make a list of the specifics you want to address, research the issue and get your facts right. When you have everything ready, schedule a meeting, and be cool and professional."
"Watch what you say to anyone at work. The only reason to bring up negative issues is to create a plan for correcting them. Complaining for the sake of complaining can alienate colleagues and create a bad environment. Better to save it for message boards."
Let go of your anger
"Sometimes it's hard to get past your own feelings of anger or hurt and your need to get them out. Write how you feel in a letter and mail it to yourself, or keep it at home. Then resolve to put your anger aside. If you're curious in a couple of months, read the letter. You may be surprised at how those feelings have changed."
Don't take it personally
"Recognise that a criticism of your work is not a criticism of you, and don't let it damage your self-esteem."
Stick to the points
"Whenever you have to discuss something with a difficult coworker, write down three to five main points, and stick to them. Even if they get off the subject and start saying nasty things, always come back to your main points. That way, you avoid getting embroiled in an argument."