Difficult people are a normal part of everyday life. Some of them are part of our families, others we meet on the street, and to our misfortune, some of them exist at work. They are the types of people that make us want to pull our hair out, run around screaming, while rolling on the floor. Also, while you can avoid that annoying aunt, or stay away from people you do not like, difficult people from the workplace must be dealt it, otherwise they will constantly try to undermine you or exclude you from cliques. They can also make you become counter-productive or uncomfortable.
The fact of the matter is that difficult people come in every conceivable variety. Some are pure evil, while others are simply annoying or consumed by jealousy. No matter the nature of their malice, you have to deal with them. Here are five tips that will help you deal with difficult people at work:
#1 Listen to Them
Usually, it is easier for us to just tune out, and let the people that annoy us become background noise. One word of advice: this will not stop them from talking either way. Wouldn’t it be easier to listen to their problems, or complaints and try to resolve the problem? If anything, they’ll just argue more forcefully then they usually do, because it will probably be the first time that somebody actually listens to their opinion. Have you ever thought that people are so difficult because nobody listens to them? Normal active listening techniques could actually be rendered productive.
#2 Remain Calm at All Times
Raising your voice or flaring at someone will just transform you in one of those difficult people that you hate so much. The best way to get somebody to collaborate and to deal with difficult people at work is by remaining calm at all times. Also keep in mind that, unless anger will trigger your co-worker into action, you are consciously giving him more reasons to doubt your judgments. People who always maintain calm, give the impression that they are in control. Therefore, they are more respected and likely to receive leadership positions.
#3 Treat the Difficult Person With Respect
Even if you do not like being treated as if you are incapable or incompetent, even if it is very hard to contain your urges and become the better person, respect is something that you should never forget about. The first chance that a difficult person gets to undermine you, he will take it, so by not respecting them you are giving them more ammo for evil. “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”.
#4 Turn to a Higher Authority for Resolution
When everything else fails, there is only one more option: escalate to your manager. Although the chances of resolving your problem are very high, you should also consider it as an ultimate solution. If you exercise this method all the times, your manager will think that you are incapable of handling your problems. However, if people simply refuse to cooperate, and hold back the team, you should definitely look for resolution quickly.
#5 Have a Private Discussion with the Difficult Person
Have you ever heard about “I” messages? In it, people try to describe their working experience without accusing or pointing fingers. They are basically trying to express their feelings and perspective on a certain matter. This is a great method that will neither make the difficult person feel cornered, and it may also help you find resolution and deal with difficult people at work. Be pleasant and agreeable as you state your points. You are probably not aware how much a smile, or a calm tone means. At the end of the conversation try to reach an agreement about positive or supportive actions for the future.