Let’s call her Lucy.  She walked around work like she was everyone’s best friend. She took every opportunity to publicly let others know how exceptional she was at her job. She presented herself as the most creative, most productive, most energetic person in the office. She answered her phone, “It’s a great day in [insert industry name]! She buddied up to senior leadership. Lucy grated on my nerves and I didn’t trust her. Lucy annoyed me.

We have all worked with that annoying coworker, maybe even a coworker like Lucy.  Think of the people you work with right now. Who is the annoying one? (Um … if you can’t figure out who the annoying coworker is … cough, cough … it might be you!)

Maybe you’re not the MOST annoying coworker where you work, BUT you might still be annoying.

Based on my experience, lots of input from people in my workshops, and some internet research, I have uncovered the 5 most annoying coworkers. Before you read on to see if any of these sound like you, take a deep breath and proceed humbly, honestly, and openly.


Meeting Delayer. This person shows up late, because they think their time and their work is more important than yours. They don’t mind making you wait or anyone else for that matter. Note: this isn’t the person who showed up late one time; it’s the person who is perpetually late.

Responsibility Shirker. This person can be remarkably good at getting you to take on extra work. When projects and tasks are discussed with the team, they never taking on extra work or volunteer to lead. They may even convince you that their work is your work and pass on their most disliked tasks.

Loud Talker. This person’s voice carries far and wide. Whether it is a conversation with a client or coworker, or a conversation of  a personal nature, they forget other people are in the room and that everyone can hear them.

Attention Seeker. This person wants to be noticed and uses various strategies to be seen. They may take credit for someone else’s work. They might habitually complain, insert themselves into conversations, or try to garner sympathy.

Know-it-All. This person doesn’t need input because they already have all the answers.  They don’t need feedback because they already know what changes need to be made. They’ve been there. They’ve read it. They’ve heard it. They’ve learned it.

People annoy us because their behavior is annoying, not because they are inherently annoying humans.

Let’s take it one step further and do something about it – because we can all be annoying at times. Have you ever heard the phrase silence condones behavior? It’s true. We enable behavior and feed it by not saying anything. If you find a behavior annoying, communicate!

Here are some ideas to get you started depending on how assertive you like to be in your communication approach.

Meeting Delayer.

“Meetings need to start and end on time. Please respect others and arrive on time.”

“We couldn’t start the meeting on time today. Can you explain the reason for being late?”

“Help me understand the reason for the delay in getting to the meeting today. Is there something I can do to help you?”

Responsibility Shirker.

“I believe that is your responsibility.”

“That isn’t my responsibility, so I’m going to say no.”

“I suggest [insert name] take that on as everyone else has volunteered to take on additional tasks already.”

“Perhaps we need to take a look at who has and hasn’t taken additional responsibilities lately.”

Loud Talker.

“Are you aware of how your voice carries?”

“Can you please talk more quietly? I’m having a hard time concentrating on my work.”

“I’m uncomfortable hearing your personal conversations. Please make those phone calls in a private area.”

“Do you realize we can all hear your personal conversations?”

Attention Seeker.

“Why did you take credit for X?”

“I thought [insert name] came up with that idea/did that work.”

“What solution do you have?”

“What are you going to do to make it better?”

“I’d love to hear your ideas on how to fix it.”


“Do you want input, or are you just telling me this because you want me to know you have it figured out?”

“It appears I haven’t offered anything new. Why did you ask for my input/opinion?”

“Is it possible others in the room have valuable ideas we should consider?”


I’d like to hear from you!

What coworker behaviors annoy you?

How do you deal with annoying coworkers?


Telling people what to do

Bad conversation

Bad attitude

Big words that make you sound less smart