November 20, 2019
Do you have one in your office? That coworker who just always seems to say the wrong thing to you, and really knows how to “push your buttons”? You dread times when you need to interact with this person, and may even try to avoid them. But then, the worst-case scenario happens: you need to ask them a question, or are assigned to work with them on a project. What do you do?
Tips and techniques for working with difficult people
There are a wide variety of personalities in every workplace, and you might not mesh well with all of them. But even still, it’s a good idea to remain positive—and make an attempt to get along, if only professionally. (No one is asking you to be best friends with this person outside the office, after all.)
Just follow these five tips to help you deal with difficult people in the workplace:
- Just breathe. First and foremost, remain calm. This is not the end of the world! If you just relax and breathe, you’ll be much less likely to lose your temper and say or do something you’ll regret. Try to keep an open mind as you approach the situation.
- Try to understand the person. Everyone is operating based on different core values—and what’s important to you may not be as important to someone else. But our idiosyncrasies are what make us tick. If you can understand more about someone, it can help you to be more empathetic—and also help work to go more smoothly. Simply talk to them and try to get their point of view.
- Set a time limit. If you can, schedule a set amount of time to work with the difficult person. For example, “Let’s work on XYZ project this Tuesday from 11-12.” Knowing there’s an end in sight can help make time with the person easier to endure.
- Be upfront. When you’re working with them, let them know your point of view, as well. Empathy can be built from both sides, and if they understand more about where you’re coming from and the motives behind your actions, it can help the difficult person to manage their behavior towards you.
- Overlook what bothers you. Sometimes, a coworker’s behavior can be difficult for you to handle, despite your best efforts. If you simply can’t get past whatever it is that upsets you about them, make an attempt to ignore it.
- Talk to your boss
If a co-worker is truly upsetting you, or worse—harassing you, it’s time to escalate your concerns to your boss. Let them know what is happening and work together for ways to resolve the issue.
Need something new?
If all your efforts haven’t worked, your best bet may be a different job. And when you’re in search of office/administrative or light industrial work, contact Inter-Connect. We’ll help you find a new job you love!