Career Concepts


Have you ever worked with someone that annoys you so much, you’re not sure if you want to scream at them or run away screaming? Unfortunately, difficult people are a reality of the modern workplace that we all just have to deal with.

You can find all kinds of difficult people in the typical American workplace: people who don’t deliver the goods on-time, people who avoid meetings, people who don’t take responsibility for anything and people who microwave fish in the break room.

While you can’t control difficult people, you can control how you respond to them. Below are ways to make it through the workday while keeping your sanity.

Keep calm and carry on

Getting angry at the other person normally isn’t the best approach to get them to change their behavior. Try a calm approach to diffuse the situation early on. Plus, a manager won’t take your side seriously if they find out you blew up at a co-worker.

Try to see where they’re coming from

Even if it appears the difficult person is out to get you, there is always some root cause that is driving them to act that way. Try to figure out what motivates this person, so you can resolve the situation. For instance, someone who has issues with authority may not be following standard procedures and getting them to change could means explaining why their methods could be holding others back.

Ask for advice

Your co-workers have probably dealt with this person directly or handled a situation like this. They will be capable of seeing the situation from another angle and offering alternative takes. Share your story with the trusted people in your network and pay attention to what they have to say. You might hear some fantastic advice in these conversations.

Hash it out

Although it may be out of your comfort zone, sit down with the person and try to get them to see your point of view. This can get them open to the idea of changing your relationship for the better.

You should also try to build a rapport with them – get to understand them as a person, and not just a co-worker. Find out more about their hobbies, their loved ones, their lives. If you can build a stronger connection, it could go a long way to fixing the situation.

Go to management

When all else fails, go to you superior. This approach shouldn’t be used unless you’ve totally run out of options. Sometimes, the only effective approach to is a top-down approach, particularly in large bureaucratic companies. Don’t go this route all the time or else you run the risk of being seen as someone who is incapable of handling their own problems.

At Career Concepts, we help people mediate interpersonal conflicts in the workplace or leave a toxic situation through a new job. Please contact us today to find out how we can help address your current job situation.


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