June 2, 2021
No workplace situation is perfect. It’s to be expected that when you work with a wide variety of personality types, you’ll come across someone you don’t get along with. It happens to the best of us. Our differences help make the world an interesting place, but that thought doesn’t really make it easier when you’re wondering how to get along with coworkers who you don’t see eye-to-eye with.
Four ways to deal with difficult people
Strong personalities, especially those that conflict with your own, can make your job challenging. Some days you’re up for that challenge, and some days you’d much rather hit the “easy” button. Well, you can make it much easier to get along with your coworkers—even the difficult ones—when you follow these tips:
- Repeat a daily mantra each morning. Have you ever practiced mindset work? It has to do with setting your expectations through daily mantras, and it can do wonders for your stress level. You know you’ll probably encounter difficult people each workday, and you know they may do something to upset you. But you can be prepared when you meditate on a mantra-like the following each morning: I don’t get upset by the actions of others. Instead, I feel empathy because I know their behavior is a response to their own experiences and has nothing to do with me.
- Be honest. If the person is doing more to upset you than simply stating a difference of opinion, it might help to bring it to their attention. For example, if a coworker frequently criticizes your work, you could say something like, “I’ve noticed you’re overly critical of my work and it upsets me. I’m doing the best I can.” Sometimes, a person may not realize how their behavior is affecting others.
- Be kind. There’s a saying: You attract more bees with honey than salt. You could try to approach the person with kindness, giving them the benefit of the doubt. This is especially true if you haven’t been working with them very long. Once you’ve established a friendlier relationship, it could change the person’s behavior towards you.
- Limit your interaction. Keep your conversations strictly business. When you need to talk to them, stick to the topic at hand, discuss what you need to in order to get your work done, and politely end the conversation. Nothing says you need to stick around and talk about your weekend, and the less interaction you have, the less chances there will be to argue.
When to involve your boss
If a coworker’s behavior ever makes you uncomfortable and seems inappropriate, it’s time to talk to your boss. Harassment is never OK, and never something you should just overlook.
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