Top Tips to Deal with Difficult People at Work and Seek Cooperation with Them
Is your co-worker causing you too much trouble?
Does your cubical mate constantly interrupt your phone calls?
Do you have that one person who gossips constantly?
No matter what your challenge is with a coworker, there are many ways to facilitate cooperation and defuse the hostility that may have been building up between employees in the workplace.
Here are some ideas you may want to try.
1. STAY IN CONTROL
If you reaction to someone’s attack, you are simply giving them the response they want. Do not yell back or give into their threats, and avoid body language that shows defense (crossed arms, stepping back, etc. Simply listening in a calm manner can often take care of many problems.
2. IGNORE THE ATTACKS
If the person in question is harassing you, obviously it can not be completely ignored. With a little effort, though, you can desensitize yourself to the threats you feel this person is having. When you have learned to stay in control, it will leave you less vulnerable to feeling that they control your job.
What? How can a compliment help? Say thanks, I’ll think about it. You have acknowledged the person, and they will be willing to work with you more. You might think about how crazy the idea was, but … if you listened, you might find some good material to resolve the conflicts in the workplace.
When a co-worker constantly takes jabs, a good way to stop this is to agree with them, and then make it worse. By making fun of yourself, it takes the power away from the person who started it. They are left laughing (or griping) WITH you instead of AT you.
If you did something in the wrong or made a mistake, apologize quickly and move on. Don’t get stuck over thinking it or trying to make amends. A genuine apology is sufficient and does not require penance.
By handing over some of the control to the other person, you are making them responsible for the results. One way to do this is by saying “what do you want to accomplish/how can we achieve it?” This works for difficult employees and clients because it forces them to explain what they are unhappy about.
7. SLOW YOUR SPEECH
If someone is over-reacting to a situation, a good way to help the situation is similar to staying in control. If you slow your speech and stay unusually calm, it will often help the other person calm down because their hysteria will seem ridiculous if you calm.
8. CONSIDER THE OTHER PERSON’S PERSPECTIVE
What might you be doing to bring on the behavior? Sometimes it’s hard to admit that our actions fuel someone else’s behavior. You may try to talk with them so you can work together. Being open about your frustration will help immensely if they don’t know you are frustrated. There’s no sense in stewing in your own juices if you haven’t brought up your irritation in a positive way.
9. GET THE BOSS
Sometimes you just have to bring a problem to management’s attention. This should be reserved as a last resort, since finger pointing may backfire on you. The old saying when you point a finger you have the rest pointing at yourself may be showing that you haven’t tried to work things out on your own. But if you have, then perhaps the boss knows how to deal with the difficult employees and can change the environment for you.
Not all of us are born people-persons. Even for those who love most people, there is invariably that one person who will crawl under your skin. Not letting it get the best of you is the best way to go. Just remember, you probably irritate at least one somebody too.
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