Dealing with Difficult Personalities in the Workplace
In any job there are people. Many different people. Some of these people are easy to be around and others, well, not so much. This is not a unique scenario and many times in most of our careers the largest challenge we face is not the actual work itself, but the people we have to deal with to get the work done.
So, if one of the hardest things to deal with professionally is difficult people, why haven’t we been better prepared for it. That is why we are putting this blog out there. We want all of our TSLMS members, and everyone else reading this, to realize that there are answers and solutions to these common workplace issues. We present some of the best of those, pulled from some of the leading experts.
What Business Insider Says About Difficult People
This is a source of inspiration and advice that makes its way into the Wall Street Set:
Years ago, I used to get bothered and worked up over such situations. I’d think, “Why are these people being so difficult?”, “These people are so irresponsible!”, “Just my luck to work with them” or “I don’t ever want to work with these people again!”.
After a while, I learned that these people are everywhere. No matter where you go, you can never hide from them. Sure, it might be possible to avoid the 1st one or two difficult people, but how about the 3rd, 5th, 10th person you encounter? Hiding isn’t a permanent solution. What’s more, in the context of work, it’s usually difficult to avoid or hide from someone, unless you quit a job totally. Well – I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t seem feasible to quit every time someone has an opposing view or is being difficult. So rather than turn to some drastic decisions each time, why not equip yourself with the skills to deal with them? (Source).
Psychology Today Has Tips on Dealing With Difficult People at Work
According to the professional publication, there are a number of tactics that any of us can take to handle difficult personalities:
We’ve all been there—trying valiantly to reason with an incredibly difficult person. The situation proves frustrating, maddening, and sometimes even frightening. The truth is, you can’t reason with an unreasonable person. However, there are proven techniques to better manage such dicey situations. I learned the ropes of what’s technically called “verbal de-escalation” from many years working in hospitals. Every year, we’d go through training on how to defuse difficult situations in which a patient, family member, or even another employee was extremely angry and seemingly out of control… The closer your relationship the person, the more knowledge you’ll have of what will best work to calm things down.
The Best Tactics for Dealing With Difficult People
This is, as noted above, not an easy topic to process. However, as pointed out by The Balance Careers,
“They come in every variety and no workplace is without them. How difficult a person is for you to deal with depends on your self-esteem, your self-confidence, and your professional courage at work. Dealing with difficult people is easier when the person is just generally obnoxious or when the behavior affects more than one person. Dealing with them is much tougher when they are attacking you, stealthily criticizing you or undermining your professional contribution. Difficult people come in every conceivable variety. Some talk constantly and never listen. Others must always have the last word. Some coworkers fail to keep commitments. Others criticize anything that they did not create. Difficult coworkers compete with you for power, privilege, and the spotlight; some go way too far in courting the boss’s positive opinion—to your detriment. Some coworkers attempt to undermine you and you constantly feel as if you need to watch your back. Your boss plays favorites and the favored party lords it over you; people form cliques and leave you out. Difficult people and situations, such as these, exist in every workplace. They all have one thing in common. You must address them. No matter the type of difficult situation in which you find yourself, dealing with difficult people or situations is a must… Trust this statement. Your situation won’t get better; left unaddressed, it usually gets worse. Unaddressed, necessary conflict simmers just below—and often erupts counter-productively above—the surface at work”
Difficult people in the workplace can suck the air out of the room or take the pep out of your step if you let them. There is nothing about this topic that is easy or uncomplicated, but most experts agree that the best approach in dealing with a difficult personality is to face it head on. It will most likely be uncomfortable and difficult, but should lead to better results and a more harmonious workplace.