Wednesday, February 22, 2012

How to deal with difficult people at work

The original article was published in "How to Deal with" on January 20, 2012.
Any workplace brings together different personalities with diversified characteristics. All of them can not get along well but have to work together and cooperate nevertheless. Difficult people at work come in all shapes and sizes. Here are a few tips on how to deal with such difficult people at work.

1. Be calm and forgiving

You are frustrated and irritated to no limits by this person. But losing your calm and behaving irrationally will not help you. On the contrary, such behavior may backfire and project you in bad light. Just be patient and maintain your calm. If the person is simply chattering or sharing gossip with you, try changing the subject. Or simply convey politely that you are busy and will catch up later. If someone tries to delegate his/her share of work to you, tell him/her that your hands are already full and would not be able to take up more stuff. In whatever way you tackle, it is important to be polite and calm. As far as possible, resist the urge to fight or argue. And most importantly learn to forgive. Keeping grudges is not going to harm anyone but yourself. Forgiving is the way to peace and happiness.  


2. Stop talking about it

It is very normal and natural that we tend to discuss about the difficult people we encounter at work or outside. And it is also healthy as it vents out our anger. But as they say that too much of anything is bad, the same is true in this case also. The more we talk about that person, the more irritated we get. We start noticing minute irritating behavior which we did not notice earlier. The best way to tackle is to stop giving it attention. Any matter will bother us only when we give it attention and importance. So, simply stop talking about it.


3. Learn a lesson

Every situation in life has a lesson to teach. No matter how difficult a person is to handle, there is always something you can learn from the experience. Working with such people will help you to understand them and improve your communication skills. The experience will also help you to identify tricky situations and learn how to avoid or tackle them. No matter how negative a situation might be, there will always be a lesson to be learned. Tough situations help us to grow and evolve to become a better and stronger person, so always look for lessons.


4. Build a rapport and give respect

It is possible that certain people irritate us because we do not know them well. Try to reach out to your co-workers and learn about them. Keep a personal touch by asking about their family, health and life in general. Such gestures go a long way in your work life. Be empathetic. Every person behaves in a certain way due to certain underlying reasons. Try to understand such behavior and react accordingly. And above all, treat everyone with respect. If you give respect, you will get respect. If you do not treat someone with dignity, that person is likely to treat you in the same way.


5. Ignore and do not respond

If no strategy works, simply ignore and avoid the annoying people at work. If you start ignoring what the chatterbox or gossip monger is saying, he/she is likely to stop bothering you with his/her blabbering. The same is true for the complainers. Avoid working or interacting with the difficult people as far as possible. Usually, when a person initiates negative action, it is to trigger similar reaction from you. So, do not give them what they want and surprise them with your calm behavior. Simply do not react. When such people see that nothing can perturb you, they will stop bothering you altogether

How to deal with a bipolar person

The original article was published in "How to Deal with" on January 20, 2012.

Bipolar disorder is an illness like any other medical condition. If someone you know or care about, like a family member, friend or a colleague, is suffering from bipolar disorder, your love and support can go a long way. Here are a few ways to understand and deal with a bipolar person.

1. Learn about Bipolar Disorder

Equip yourself with knowledge and information about the disease. The more you know, the better prepared you are. Study about the disorder, what are the causes, the symptoms, the treatment options, dealing on a personal level and so on. Generally, bipolar disorder is misunderstood as a mental condition and the patient is not given due respect. It is important to understand that this disorder is a disease just like diabetes, etc. and it has to be treated accordingly. Mania and depression are two sides of the symptoms of this disease. Familiarize yourself with the symptoms. When affected person is talking about himself/herself too much, he/she may come across as a conceited person. On the contrary, this is a symptom of mania. Many a times, the symptoms of the disorder are misunderstood and are taken as the inherent personality traits of the person. So it is very important to learn about the disease on the very onset. Do not act like a layman while dealing with your loved ones.


2. Encourage the person to get help

Bipolar disorder is a real illness and it needs medical treatment like any other illness. The affected people are often reluctant to admit that they need medical attention as they feel embarrassed or are in a state of denial. If you notice that someone you care about is displaying any of the symptoms of the disease, talk to them, help them to come out of their shell and encourage them to see a specialist. If the person by no means want to admit to such a possibility, do not argue. You need to be sensitive with your loved ones. Instead of forcing them to see a specialist, suggest a routine medical check up. Meanwhile you can contact the suggested doctor and talk about your concerns about bipolar disorder. The affected person has to understand that without immediate medical attention, the condition can worsen.


3. Be patient and understanding

One thing is very important in dealing with a bipolar person and that is patience. You have to understand that bipolar disorder is nobody's fault and it is of no use getting frustrated. Even if the person is undergoing medical treatment, he/she is not going to recover overnight. Managing bipolar disorder is a continuous process and so needs sheer patience. You need to be caring and supportive of a bipolar person. You need to constantly remind the person that you are there when he/she needs you. That you understand their problems and always are ready to help them. Compliment them on a regular basis. That will boost their confidence and hep them stabilize their behavior. Whenever possible, take part in their treatment. Go with them on visits to the doctor. Family therapy goes a long way in managing a bipolar person.


4. Accept the person's limits

You will have to accept and understand that a bipolar person can not control his/her moods. Bipolar people can not simply snap out of their manic or depressed episodes on will. It is no use of shouting at them or asking them to stop acting the way they do. They can not control their moods through will power or self control. Do not expect anything extraordinary from such people. But again expecting too little can hinder recovery. So it is essential to strike a balance between encouraging independence and providing support. You also have to accept the fact that you can not cure a bipolar person. It is not in your hands.


5. Communicate honestly

Having an open and frank communication with the affected goes a long way. Let the person know that he/she is not alone and that you are always there for him/her. Inquire from time to time how they are feeling and if they need to talk about anything. Always make an effort to answer their questions honestly. But at the same time, avoid arguing or engaging them in an intense conversation. During episodes, bipolar people often say hurtful things out of excitement which they do not actually mean. Do not take such comments personally. Avoid talking or arguing with them during such manic episodes.