5 tips for working with difficult people

Tips for dealing with difficult people

Let’s face it – we’re human beings, so we’re never going to get along with everyone. When you work closely with colleagues every day, you pick up on their more annoying qualities very quickly, and some co-workers are worse than others. In a recent article for Forbes, career coach Caroline Ceniza-Levine gives her top five tips for working with difficult people.

1 Keep your distance
If you don’t need to work with this person for a specific reason, try avoiding them at all costs. When it comes to difficult people your best option is to keep your distance so you don’t get into situations where you could snap.

2 Counteract their behaviour
If you absolutely can’t avoid your colleague, figure out what it is about them that grates on you and take steps to correct it. If they have a habit of taking up your time, tell them you’re on a tight schedule and need to keep the conversation short.

3 Don’t make it all about you
Say you’re the team leader on a big project and one of your colleagues isn’t putting in as much effort as the rest. Try appealing to her by putting her actions into perspective. When she’s late getting you a report, it doesn’t affect you but the whole project. Make it clear that you’re not berating her for your own good. Sometimes difficult people need help seeing the bigger picture.

4 Play the long game
Before you fly off the handle with a colleague who’s done you wrong, step back and consider how you want to proceed with the situation. Did they mean to offend you? How can you resolve the issue? Do you need to have a word with your co-worker? What is the next step after that? It may take some time fix whatever the person has done wrong.

5 Rethink the situation
Changing the way you think about difficult people may be the best plan of action. Something can only bother you if you let it. So the next time your colleague starts droning on to you about what’s annoying her, just smile and nod and get on with your day.

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