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

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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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.

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.