It is a fact that as we go on with our daily lives we encounter difficult people. They are everywhere- in our homes, neighborhood, or in the workplaces. In our perception, the behavior of these people can be mildly irritating to extremely impossible to deal with.
Dealing with difficult people can play havoc on a person’s emotions and health. If such kind of people exists in the workplace, it can affect your job as well.
It is best to remember that people in a workplace come from diverse background and walks of life. Thus, difference in values, viewpoints and ways of thinking cannot be avoided.
What can you do if you are faced with difficult co-workers?
Keep your distance from these kinds of people.
Focus on your task. Keep your association with these people on a minimal level. If it happens that you cannot avoid them because you are working on the same project, just discuss details pertinent to your task so you will have brief encounters with them.
Be responsible on your own part in the interaction.
Be calm and detached. When you have to respond to an unreasonable attack, inquire what precisely the problem is. Maintain your composure and do not get yourself involved in a heated argument.
Maintain an effective communication with the person.
Listen carefully to what he/she is saying and understand his/her point prior to responding. You need also to let the other person get your own point. Both of you should be on the same plane to avoid misunderstandings.
Determine what caused the difficulty.
Identify what type of difficult people you are dealing with. Find out what can be the possible causes of this behavior so you can interact with this person more effectively.
- Controlling types– These people are aggressive and perfectionists. They are often rude and intimidating and have the capacity of endless criticism. They behave like a bully and always have a reason to blame others.
- Negative types or the chronic complainers– They are fault finders and just complain about everything. These people have no suggestions on how to improve things or correct the situation. Their complaint is designed to bring others down.
- Competitive types – These people view all encounter as a competition. They manipulate others into doing what they want. They don’t like to take no for an answer.
- Procrastinating type– These people are afraid of failure and has trouble in getting started. They tend to put off doing tasks and has problem with meeting deadlines.
Change your behavior.
We have to examine ourselves when there is a problem with how other people are treating us. Could your own behavior be causing the situation? We cannot alter other people’s conduct but we can change our own viewpoint and behavior.
Change your attitude about the difficult person.
By changing your outlook you will view your co-worker in a new perspective. Look for positive qualities in your colleague. This will make you feel in a different manner when you are interacting with the person. This will also enhance your working relationship.
Control the impact of other people’s behavior on you. Do not allow difficult people to affect your own emotions and your job. Deal with him without responding to the challenging behavior.
Create a work plan.
There should be a precise direction and expectation in your work assignment at the very start when you work with a difficult co-employee. Your work plan must include specific objectives, expected output, project deadline and evaluation criterion.
Engage in a private dialogue with the difficult person.
Talk with the difficult person when you are prepared to bring up the problem. During the conversation, stay calm and clear-headed. Focus on the problem and not on the person. Raise specific concerns and stick to the facts. Listen carefully to what the other person is saying. Once you have clear up the issue and understand the details, or the causes of the problem behavior, you will be able to give feedback and act to improve the situation. This is also the opportunity to tell the difficult person the specific change in his behavior you are seeking. This person might not be aware that his conduct bothered those around him.
Consult Senior Level Persons
If the situation was not resolved after your discussion, your last option is to seek the advice of your supervisor or the HR personnel. Consulting a higher level shows your desire to improve the situation. This is a manifestation that you would like to solve the situation/ problem and maintain a good working relationship with your colleagues at work.