8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

Difficult people are everywhere. No matter how well you try to get along with everyone, there will always be one or two people who clash with you despite your best efforts. Sometimes misunderstanding can be cleaned up with a civilized conversation, and other times, you find a person who thrives on conflict and tries to make your life miserable. It is frustrations and feels like this person is out to get you for no reason that you can see. One of the most prominent areas of our lives for dealing with difficult people is in the workplace. You spend most of your time at work. Dealing with difficult people in the workplace isn’t like dealing with a snippy cashier or someone who cut you off in the highway. At work, you can’t always walk away and try to forget about the individual. However, if you want to keep your job, you have to learn how to work with difficult people, because leaving your job is a last resort. Be a Professional. While you co-worker’s behavior might be less than professional, that’s no reason for you to stoop to his or her level. Commiserating with other employees over uncomfortable situations won’t work in your favor, either. If you’re not careful, you’ll ruin your reputation and perhaps be labeled as a whiner or a constant complainer. Worse, you too might be labeled as a difficult person. Try not to let your emotions get the best of you, keep yourself detached and do not take how you are treated personally. Difficult people in the workplace push your buttons with the hopes you’ll slip, lose your temper and cause a scene. You will come off looking like he bad guy while they stand back and feign innocence. If you do confront a person, do it when your emotions are under control and you are thinking clearly. So, what is the best way to deal with difficult people? Here are a few tips that might help you: Look in the Mirror. Take a long, hard look at yourself. Is this genuinely a problem caused by someone else or have you been part of the problem? Be honest and ask yourself: Are you overacting? Is it possible your ego was bruised and you’re feeling slighted; Are you making everything a bigger issue than it should be? In what areas were you responsible for in the situation? Remember, when one finger is pointing out at someone else, three fingers are pointing right back at you. Counsel vs. Commiseration: It’s always good to talk the problem out with someone, but there’s a big difference between seeking the counsel of a trusted friend or coworker and having a gripe session. It is easy to cross the line and go from trying to find a solution to the problem, to becoming part of the problem. Stay focused and professional. Talk about the problem you’re having and try to find a way to solve it by looking at other options and possibilities. Remain as objective about the situation as you possibly can and get on with the business of the day. Go Straight To The Source: Dealing with difficult people often involves talking to them privately in order to resolve the situation. Some people may be oblivious to the fact that they are the ones causing the problem and may never had the experience of being told how their difficult behavior was not working. Calmly explain how you feel and how the situation is affecting you. Avoid using ‘you’ statements, as that sounds accusatory, and makes the problem worst in most cases. Explain the situation diplomatically from your point of view, frequently using the pronoun “I” instead of the word “you.” Give them the benefit of the doubt and try to reach a middle ground from a win-win perspective. Chain of Command. If you are still not getting results, prepare yourself to move up the chain of command. Gather up your documentation, which is written proof, and go to your immediate supervisor or to Human Resources. Again presentation is everything. Let the supervisor know you tried resolving this on your own, present your case in a professional manner and try not to make it look like you’re trying to cause trouble. Power in Numbers: Should you discover you’re not the only one coping with this difficult person at work, you can gather the other people affected by this person and discuss how the difficult behavior is having a negative impact on everyone else. The best approach might be to have the group talk to the boss first so he/she can come up with some ideas that will help solve the problem. The Last Resort: If all else fails you may have to take some drastic measures. In some cases you won’t be able to change anything this person’s behavior, especially if the individual happens to be in a management position. You might have to consider a transfer out of the department if you want to keep your job with the company, or at the very worst, quit the job altogether and move on to something better. Moving on is one of the most difficult situations to accept, after all, you didn’t start this, why should you be the one to move? Right? But the thing about it this is; do you want to continue working in a difficult and stressful environment? Do you want to continue to jeopardize your career at the whim of this difficult person? As hard as it might be, it is better to cut your losses and move on. It’s in your best interest to get rid of the toxic people in your life. Make sense? Let It Go: After all is said and done, and the problem has been resolved. Hopefully the difficult person is not being a nuisance anymore, then get back to business as usual. Once the situation has been resolved in your favor there is no need to dig it up again, continue to complain, or go looking for issues. Let it all go and give the difficult person and yourself a shot at a fresh start. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again asking yourself what the learning lesson was and realizing you didn’t have to give up your Power. Dealing with difficult people isn’t easy and you won’t always win. Just remember, no matter what, do not lower yourself to their tactics. If you do, it is too easy to slip and find yourself on the receiving end of even more problems than you started with. These problems could make it difficult for you to find another job should you decide to leave. Maintain control of your emotions and act mature, try to resolve the situation to the best of your ability, and if it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid or feel like you failed if you have to move on to another job. Sometimes there are not solutions, especially if the other person isn’t willing to cooperate. While we would all like to see a trouble maker get his just desserts, it isn’t possible. You should always be your own number one priority.

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