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11 Ways To Diffuse The Tension And Get Along With Difficult Colleagues

https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2018/12/07/11-ways-to-diffuse-the-tension-and-get-along-with-difficult-colleagues/

forbes.com

11 Ways To Diffuse The Tension And Get Along With Difficult Colleagues
When hiring new talent, most employers try to match their company's values and culture with potential employees. However, in a diverse office with workers of various interests and personalities, it's not uncommon to experience occasional tension. Toxic personalities aren't always obvious in the hiring process, and they may emerge well after an employee has been onboard.

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Start With A Casual Conversation

Start With A Casual Conversation

You’re trying to make the relationship better, so don’t jump to conclusions, be petty or accusatory. State what you’re experiencing in a non-threatening way and follow it with a question. 

Here’s an example for a micro-managing boss: “I’m really excited to be working on this project. I’d like to try a bit more soloing. Would you be comfortable with that?”

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Ask For A Private Discussion

Ask For A Private Discussion

Instead of avoiding the person, seek to address the issue head-on because, if left unaddressed, it’s only likely to get worse. 

Ask for a private discussion with the other person to express what you’re experiencing as pleasantly and agreeably as possible to avoid damaging the relationship further.

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Always Be Direct

All people deserve to be treated professionally and with dignity. Remembering that being direct is not in contradiction with professionalism is imperative. Be direct, brave and respectful.

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Name specific examples

Set the stage by letting them know how much you value their partnership and that you want to collectively figure out a better way to work together. 

Bring specific work-related personal examples to the table and use simple, common words to describe how you felt about their behavior and actions. 

Then offer to brainstorm and work together on specific outcomes that will help reduce the toxicity.

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Keep Them 'In The Know'

When a difficult colleague is someone demanding control and influence, one effective tactic is to feed him or her a steady stream of status updates. Keeping these colleagues in the know helps them accommodate change more easily. 

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Understand Their Motivation

When faced with someone who is challenging or toxic, the first step is to understand what is motivating the behavior. 

Only then can you apply some authentic understanding which can potentially turn a relationship and allow you to be the one person who breaks through.

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Document All Interactions

If a person is always pushing in a different direction, they are making it difficult to reach your objectives and achieve your vision. 

You should follow the process, document all interactions and inspire the person to correct the behavior. If they do not correct their path, it's time to take action.

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Try Different Methods

Focus on effective communication. 

Professionally communicate through various channels (email, phone, text, etc.) and see which channels produce the best result. Proceed with those.

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Define Your Boundaries

Define your boundaries when unacceptable behavior transpires. 

For example, when intimidation occurs, say, "Are you trying to intimidate me? If so, please stop. It is not acceptable, and I will not engage further if it continues." This typically stops the toxic person because they do not want to own up to their behavior.

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Difference Between Difficult and Toxic

Difference Between Difficult and Toxic

For difficult personalities, communication is central to meeting expectations and resolving conflict. Understanding what drives the individual and what is important will allow you to more effectively work together. 

However, the behaviors of toxic individuals need to be addressed immediately, perhaps through human resources intervention.

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Trust Due Process

Due process exists so that personnel-related liabilities do not go unaddressed.  Leaders and HR should assess the severity of the behavior, and assuming it's still salvageable:

  • give constructive feedback
  • record and document these discussions
  • monitor the team member's progress
  • take the temperature from their colleagues and department heads
  • evaluate what additional measures need to be taken.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Manipulation

... is an emotionally unhealthy psychological strategy used by people who are incapable of asking for what they want and need in a direct way, to control someone or something t...

Common Types Manipulators

The two most common types of manipulators are bullies and “victims”.

Bullies make you feel fearful and might use aggression, threats and intimidation to control you, while “victims” engenders a feeling of guilt in their target by acting hurt when denied something.

Gaslighting

The term refers to manipulation that gets people to question themselves, their reality, memory or thoughts. Gaslighters twist what you say and make it about them, hijacking the conversation or making you feel like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t.

Gaslighted people often feel a false sense of guilt or defensiveness, as if they failed completely or did something wrong when they didn’t.

one more idea

Maintain Physical Distance

The best way of avoiding workplace contagion by toxic workers is to minimize contact.

People are four times more likely to communicate regularly with individuals who are seated two met...

Slow the Rhythm

Slow the rhythm of your exchanges with toxic workers as much as possible. By doing so, you'll deny the abuser the positive reinforcement and pleasure they crave when they abuse others.

Reduce the frequency of communications. Limit meetings such that they are only scheduled on an as-needed basis. As well, when possible, minimize email communications and delay email response times.

Develop an Early Warning System

Oftentimes, an early warning system is best developed with the succor of a toxic worker's secretary or executive assistant. 

Because these individuals are best suited to predict rash behavior and/or mood swings. If you're able to successfully enlist individuals in the know, they can be invaluable in terms of alerting you not only of an asshole's presence, but also of his/her daily levels of "asshole-ness."

Trust in the age of remote work

Trust in the age of remote work

Different industries may face different challenges when they have to manage staff remotely. However, they all share one element that is crucial: trust.

A lack of tr...

Setting expectations for a remote setting

  • The simplest way to ensure employees are meeting expectations is to articulate your expectations.
  • Rather than assuming everyone is available, establish the frequency and ideal timing for communication.
  • Determine the best time and means of reaching you during the workday.
  • Daily check-in calls can be helpful to stay up-to-date with what everyone is working on.

Once you've set expectations, stick to them so your team will know what to expect.

Set employees up for success with the right tools

In the office, employees are given the tools they need to do their jobs. The same should apply when they work remote. They should have access to the right materials, equipment, and information.

Recreating an office setting also means offering several methods of communication, such as video conferencing.