Over the years, I’ve encountered my fair share of difficult people. People who don’t follow through as promised, people who don’t show up or are always late for meetings, people who stick vehemently to their views and refuse to collaborate, people who are negative, people who gossip, people who bully.
How we deal with these individuals on a daily basis at work, affects our stress level and the culture of the company. It can even impact productivity.
Tips for Dealing with Difficult Co-Workers
- Be calm – Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. Would you prefer to work with someone who is predominantly calm or someone who is always on edge and raises their voice?
- Lead by example – Do not participate in negativity, gossip and discussions. Be positive and show collaboration among coworkers.
- Try to understand the person’s intentions – There is always some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way. Perhaps something is happening at home or there are changes at work that are causing them stress.
- Let the person know where you are coming from – Providing the reason behind your actions and the full background of what is happening will enable them to understand the situation. This lets them get on-board much easier.
- Get some perspective from others – In all likelihood, your colleagues must have experienced similar situations in some way or another. They will be able to see things from a different angle and offer a different take on the situation. Seek them out, share your story and listen to what they have to say. You might very well find some golden advice in amidst of the conversation.
- Ignore – If you have already tried everything above and the person is still not being receptive, the best way might be to just ignore. After all, you have already done all that you can within your means. Interface with the person only when needed.
If these techniques fail, you can always talk with your manager. However, my best advice is to take the high road and be their inspiration to change in leading by example.