We are surrounded by diverse types of people in all facets of our lives, the workplace is naturally no exception. Some co-workers can be agreeable, cooperative and responsive while others can fall under the “Difficult People” umbrella. Difficult can vary from being too picky, to failing to keep commitments, to over criticizing, etc…
Taking into consideration the fact that one spends at least a third of his/her day at the workplace means shrugging off feelings of unease is not really feasible as this would only impel stress levels to climb and eventually employee productivity to suffer.
careerindubai.net career experts share below their Top Tips for dealing with difficult people at the workplace:
– Tip #1: Put yourself in your co-worker’s shoes: Try asking yourself why your co-worker is being difficult. What are the reasons behind his hostility/ insecurity/ under delivering? Only once you develop a better understanding of where the other party is coming from and define what is affecting his/ her actions, will you be able to take this to the next level. Fact: gathering as much information as possible in order to analyze the real problem is greatly recommended. Get in touch with other associates who have previously – or still do – interact with the difficult co-worker and get as much feedback as possible so that you can better review and assess the situation.
– Tip #2: Maintain an open mind: Stay flexible while assessing the situation and observe it from all different angles. This will allow you to draw different scenarios that could be implemented (bearing in mind the end result should reflect a win-win situation for both ends). Fact: the way to do his is to not take it personally and to stay grounded. We all have our flaws and neither you nor your co-worker can be “perfect”, so focus on the bigger picture rather than the minor details.
– Tip #3: Communicate explicitly with your co-worker: Do not fret about being transparent and laying all your cards on the table. If a co-worker’s behavior is not one you can manage to tolerate, or one that you deem inappropriate or unfair, pointing it out politely, professionally and in private is absolutely acceptable. Fact: You can expect difficult people to strongly rebel at first and react with rage but rest assured, once they see where you’re coming from and realize this will work for not only your benefit, but also theirs (and the mutual projects you’re engaged in), they will cool down and give it serious thought – at the end of day, no employee wishes to see his, his team’s, or his department’s quality of work being negatively impacted by his own destructive behavior.
– Tip #4: Agree to disagree: So he/ she does have points of weaknesses but he/she must also have areas of strength (otherwise, how can he/she possibly still be working with you in the office?) Praise assets and be honest about what you admire (explaining why) – and what you “dislike” (explaining the negative effect this has on both your jobs). Fact: All that “difficult people“ may need at times is a simple nudge, a wake-up call to push them to take constructive action.
– Tip #5: When nothing else works, resort to higher authorities: You do not, of course, expect change to happen overnight and your “co-working conscience” calls you to allow some time for your co-worker to absorb the situation you’ve discussed and work towards making it better. Are the months rolling by with no positive initiatives flickering in the air? Does it look like your serious and heartfelt conversation has not been acknowledged? That productivity levels are still deteriorating- as a result- rather than improving? Now is the time to refer to your superior.Fact: No manager wants to hear an employee complain, so do NOT be an office whiner! Instead, have all your documented facts in hand and share them with your manager. You are concerned about the quality of work and not rushing to judge a mere personality trait that you simply are not fond of. Once the management acknowledges this and once they realize that the company’s productivity is at stake, they will take the necessary measures! Don’t let the blame factor find its way to your heart. You have done your part but the other party has not… which calls for further intervention.