We all have experience dealing with difficult, unpleasant
and problematic people at our offices and workplaces.
Difficult people are those who:
- create problems for their
- always gossip and spread
- discourage and criticize
other’s work just to boost their own ego
- hardly cooperate
- do not put enough effort
towards accomplishing the tasks they are assigned to
- are not willing to listen
- always find some thing
negative in someone or something and etc.
The list of these bad qualities can go on and on depending
on your perception of how you would define a difficult person, but a broader
definition would be that a difficult person is someone with whom it isn’t easy
to work/deal with. This person could be your boss, your coworker, a costumer or
anyone associated with your work/business.
We will not focus on the behavior and attitude of difficult
people here because we have no control over their behavior and cannot directly
change them to meet our criteria. However, what we will discuss here is our own
behavior, which we do have control over. We can adapt in order to deal with
Here we will look into some techniques and tips on how to cope
and deal with difficult people in a working environment.
- Find out if others are experiencing similar
problems with the difficult person. Examine your own behavior
first. See if it’s only this particular person you are having the problem
with or is it every other person around. Chances are that you could be
overreacting or behaving differently and, as such, provoking others to
aggressively react to your actions. Think about the problem that you are
facing with this person and see if it really is an issue that must be
dealt with. Does the person know your hot buttons and weak points? Talk
with your close colleagues that you trust about the issue and find out if
they also have noticed such a behavior in this person.
- Communicate with the person. Try to bring
your concern to the attention of the person privately at first; he/she
might be doing it unintentionally. Be careful not to do this when you are
angry, frustrated or your emotions aren’t in your total control. Inform
the person about the possible bad results of his actions. Let him know
that he will bear serious consequences if he continues to misbehave with
the costumers, does not cooperate with his colleagues, misses the
deadlines, gossips and/or offends other colleagues and that his poor
actions will have a negative impact on his career, the reputation of the
office and the overall output of the office.
Watch your words and body language so as not to
make the situation worse. People often perceive such consultation as an insult
and confrontation. Consider the position of the person in the organization and
think about how best you can present the issue to him/her. Create a friendly
and calm environment before beginning the discussion and be as friendly,
positive and patient as possible during the discussion. Be very fair in your
reasoning and never judge the personality of the person. Never bring your past
bad experiences or the overall character of the person into the discussion,
only focus your discussion on the current problem you are having with him and
come up with some reasonable solutions.
- Don’t get it personal and try to remain patient.
Focus on your own goals and duties and assure yourself that the person’s
poor behavior is none of your business unless it is seriously affecting
your performance. Don’t take his words and actions personally and try to
ignore the person or situation.
- Keep it professional. Limit your contact
with the person to a purely professional level. Try not to engage in
unnecessary chatting and gossip around the office. Be honest in your
intentions and always do your best to professionally fulfill the duties
assigned to you. Be cooperative.
- Treat others as you would like them to treat you.
Respect your colleagues and demand respect. You don’t have to like your
coworkers to have a good relationship with them. Never make jokes and
tease other colleagues in the office and try not to put yourself in a
situation where others may tempt you to do so. Don’t assist or encourage a
coworker to make fun of another coworker. Don’t complain to every other
person passing by about how irresponsible, idiotic and lazy your coworker
- If possible, share the issue with your boss.
Be ready to defend yourself and your role in the situation. Try to remain
positive and actually be willing to solve the problem. Never show up and
act as though you are trying to kick the other person out of the office.
There are different types of difficult people. You will face
them wherever you go and will have to either deal with them or leave the place.
Your success in effectively handling difficult people depends solely on your
ability to assess the situation, find the root cause of the problem and
patiently deal with it.
This article is written by Waheedullah Aleko.
The article source is How To Handle Difficult People in the Office and Workplace.