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9 Useful Strategies to Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Be calm

Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. 

Unless you know that anger will trigger the person into action and you are consciously using it as a strategy to move him/her, it is better to assume a calm persona.

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9 Useful Strategies to Dealing with Difficult People at Work

9 Useful Strategies to Dealing with Difficult People at Work

https://www.businessinsider.com/9-useful-strategies-to-dealing-with-difficult-people-at-work-2011-6

businessinsider.com

9

Key Ideas

Be calm

Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. 

Unless you know that anger will trigger the person into action and you are consciously using it as a strategy to move him/her, it is better to assume a calm persona.

Understand the person's intentions

Even when it may seem that the person is just out to get you, there is always some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way. 

Try to identify the person's trigger: What is making him/her act in this manner? What is stopping him/her from cooperating with you? How can you help to meet his/her needs and resolve the situation?

Get some perspective from others

In all likelihood, your colleagues, managers and friends must have experienced similar situations in some way or another. They will be able to see things from a different angle and offer a different take on the situation. 

Where you are coming from

Letting them in on the reason behind your actions and the full background of what is happening will enable them to empathize with your situation. 

This lets them get them on-board much easier.

Build a rapport

Connect with your colleagues on a personal level. Go out with them for lunches or dinners. Get to know them as people, and not colleagues. Learn more about their hobbies, their family, their lives. Foster strong connections. These will go a long way in your work.

Treat the person with respect

If you are going to treat the person with disrespect, it's not going to be a surprise if he/she treats you the same.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Focus on what can be actioned upon

Acknowledge that the situation has already occurred. 

Rather than harp on what you cannot change, focus on the actionable steps you can take to forward yourself in the situation.

Ignore

If you have already tried everything and the person is still not being receptive, the best way might be to just ignore.

Get on your daily tasks and interface with the person only where needed. 

Escalate to a higher authority

When all else fails, escalate to your manager. 

This is considered the trump card and shouldn't be used unless you've completely exhausted your means. 

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Don’t try to fix the difficult person

Accept them exactly as they are. 

Accept that they are unable to change, at least at this point in time. Unless you see real change — proof that this person is making an effort&nb...

Be present and direct

Try to avoid getting into a fight-or-flight response, which inevitably leads to becoming defensive

  • Be direct and assertive when you express yourself. 
  • Stay focused on how you respond. 
  • Know when the discussion or argument has accelerated to the point of no return. If it gets to this point, stop the interaction, and leave the conversation.
Encourage difficult people to express themselves

Let them fully state their point of view about the issue/conflict/problem without interruption. What do they feel people misunderstand about them? What do they want or expect from others? 

The idea is to remain as neutral as possible. Just listening may be enough to allow someone to feel like they have the opportunity to say what’s on their mind. 

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Identifying Difficult People
  • The Perfectionist. If you are looking for quick results, perfectionists can be a source of frustration.
  • Control freaks. When you want to do th...
Identifying the Issue

Turn the situation inward and analyze your triggers and reactions to these situations. 

  • How do you react to a difficult person in your life?
  • How does your difficult person react to your reactions?
  • If the other person is the problem, are you growing unhealthy actions and reactions in response to him or her?
  • Are you the difficult person driving others to reactive behavior?
  • How do others react to your actions and responses?
Mitigating These Situations

Separate the facts from your assumptions. 

Separate yourself and your reactions from the negative emotions you may be feeling in the moment. 

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Develop Your Self-awareness
  • Learn to manage your own emotions. 
  • Practice noticing your feelings, thoughts, and behavior--your triggers. Document things as they com...
Be Assertive and Set Boundaries

An assertive person takes full responsibility for herself and her actions. 

  • Seek self-control, be fair and reasonable, take on the part of the problem that belongs to you, and keep the rest of the problem where it belongs--with the difficult person.
  • Set limits and stand up for yourself so others won't take advantage. 
  • Use "I" statements, not "you" statements (these tend to lead to attack and blame).
Listen
  • Give the difficult person a chance to finish without interrupting. 
  • Ask clarifying questions if confused, and use paraphrasing and mirroring to check the accuracy of hearing.
  • Acknowledge the other person's feelings. So, if the other person is angry, say, "You must be feeling very frustrated..."

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