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
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