Dealing with Difficult People in The Workplace

Every workplace has at least one employee whom you find difficult to deal with. They probably wouldn’t know a smiley face if they see one and obviously couldn’t join the Optimist Club. They are the hardest to please, communicating with them is difficult, and sometimes even impossible. However, there is some effective ways how to work with disgruntled people.

Communicate with them face-to-face

Difficult people may misunderstand e-mails and phone conversations. They tend to make misguided assumptions because you are not there to reinforce your message through your posture, gestures, and facial expression.

Never try to change difficult employees

Trying to alter their communication style would only frustrate you further and would even anger them. Instead, adjust to their style. If they expect highly-detailed reports, then provide them with such. No need for ice breakers like silly jokes.

Be a keen listener

Give full attention to disgruntled employees every time you talk to them. One reason this person may be so cranky is because he or she lack social skills, and may feel lonely. If you didn’t comprehend them at first, don’t hesitate to ask in a polite manner such as, “Please tell me how you came to your decision, so I can understand it fully.” In that way, you change your co-worker from an enemy to an ally.

Don’t take their harsh words personally

Try not to feel offended by their grating behavior. Remember that they are not singling you out, and that they treat everybody—from the office to even their home—that way. However, if you feel that you are being singled out—like when they are nice to others while being rude to you—then try adjusting your behavior towards them like those who are nice to them, if that what it takes to get things done.

Do not confront, discuss

When the situation becomes a little volatile, do not talk back at them. Instead, talk to them calmly and suggest if you could discuss to them about the issue on a later day. Thinking about the problem overnight would give both of you enough time to remember your arguments and use the right words that you would say the following day. A one-day respite from verbal jousting often creates a more favorable climate for negotiation.

Arrange to meet with cranky co-workers in your locale

They are most likely to act more domineering if you discuss problems in his domain. If you do it in your turf, like the coffeeshop or a bar that you frequent, they are less likely to feel command on the area. If there is a home field advantage in sports, the same holds true for the business world.

We hope that following these suggestions in the workplace would create a better and a more civil business relationship with difficult co-workers. Remember that the corporate world is a team sport, even if each members are competing against each other. Creating a single goal in this competition would not only benefit the team, but also your relationship with co-workers.

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