You like or not, but difficult people are always there in every work environment. They are omnipresent and ever irritating. They can be your colleague, counterpart, or in the worst situation; your boss!
They tarnish your self-esteem; they damage your self-confidence and sometimes hit your professional courage. Well, are the difficult people so dangerous?
Sometimes yes and sometimes no! You create a ‘larger than life’ image of such people and find their behavior obnoxious. You feel that they are just intolerable people who will not change their mindset ever.
You feel that it is very much difficult to deal with them and it will be a loss of productivity if you spend time in correcting the behavior of difficult people.
Yes, it makes sense up to some extent. Correcting their behavior could be a daunting task but what about correcting ‘your own’ behavior to deal with them?
Understand their ‘type’ first!
Don’t put all types of difficult people in one category. Yes, there are several varieties. Some don’t pay attention to what you are telling and keep on talking in an irritating manner. Some want you to listen what they say and expect that you should follow their order without question.
Some feel that they are ‘Mr. Know-it-all’ and anything under the sun that is not created by them is inferior. Some are jealous of you without any reason, and they do not miss a single chance to humiliate or offend you.
Some people always want to remain in the limelight and want to take the responsibility of success; it is not the situation when the team fails. They are the bitterest critic in that case.
Some people wait for the chance of stabbing you in the back. They act like your best friend or the most decent boss, but they carry a different feeling internally. Since you know it very well, the situation frustrates you more.
The list is indicative and not comprehensive. You may get hundreds of other varieties of tough people.
Before you decide the strategy to deal with them, first recognize and understand them thoroughly.
Isn’t it a good idea to ignore them instead of thinking the ways of dealing with them?
Yes, it looks quite fancy but the things won’t improve if these people are left unaddressed. Rather, they become worst. Usually, these difficult people are in such roles that you can’t avoid them. Thus, the conflicts simmer underground and erupt on the surface with a blast.
Moreover, when you ignore; it is treated your weakness. They consider you a coward, and they find new ways of irritating you at the workplace. It may result in you losing the objectivity and emotional control which is not good in a professional environment.
Sometimes, ignoring difficult people gets rebounded. You get the blame for not having the skills of handling difficult people. People start considering ‘you’ a difficult person.
Hence, don’t let others cause devastating consequences to your career growth. Deal difficult people timely and save your job.
Find out productive and practical ways to address the issue
What do you think? Should you use your Martial Arts skills to correct the behavior of a bully coworker? Or should you shout at a difficult coworker in the boardroom who delays your presentation purposely?
No, these are not good solutions either. At least, in a structured work environment; they are not good indeed.
If at all you use them, there are big chances of you getting fired from the company. Hence, cool down and read these productive (and effective) ways.
- Retrospect the situation. Make sure you are not overacting to it or giving unnecessary importance to the other person. Hope you are not exaggerating the behavior.
- Compare the behavior. You should talk to other coworkers about it. Do they also carry the same feeling as you do? Or the other person is reacting to ‘your’ behavior? You believe it or not, but in many situations, the problem is in you and not in the other person.
- Assess the situation objectively. Do not let the emotions come in between. Legitimate emotions such as anger, frustration, humiliation, feeling of being isolated or fear to make the situation complicated.
- Are you getting disturbed by the behavior of the difficult people about you? Make sure you are not getting carried away what others say or think. In a situation when we become prejudiced by what others think, our opinion also gets colored like that. Hence, think in a cool manner and then decide the further action plan.
- Open the dialogue if possible. Try to explain your stand and convey your feelings. If the arrogance is disturbing you, then request the other person to be a little docile. If bossing troubles you, then let the other person know that you are getting affected by the behavior. When you open up, the chances of improvement improve. Always keep the tone polite and normal when you deal with difficult people. Don’t let them judge that their behavior disturbs you.
What if everything else fails?
Yes, as they say, “hope for the best and be prepared for the worst”; there comes a situation when all your efforts fail.
You must decide whether the good in the current job outweighs the bad things or it is the other way round? If the good outweighs, then you should not worry about tough people.
If the bad outweighs, then the best thing is to leave your job. Instead of working with a frustrated mindset, it is better to quit. At the end of the day, you should not compromise happiness and peace of mind. It is more important than anything else.
What is the guarantee that you won’t get tough people in the new company? Well, there is a possibility of it, but at least you will have a new set of people to deal with. You can try the ways and methods described earlier.
Life is nothing but an unending trail of trial and error; isn’t it?