Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Dealing With A Difficult Co-Worker Part 1


Hello and welcome to the two part blog post of "Dealing With A Difficult Co-Worker". After a discussion with a close friend about his experience with a difficult individual and how he used to get bothered and worked up over such situations. He said he would think, "Why are these people being so difficult?", "These people are so irresponsible!", "Just my luck to work with them" or "I don't ever want to work with these people again!".

After a while and talking to numerous other individuals in the job world, I learned that these people are everywhere. No matter where you go, you can never hide from them. Sure, it might be possible to avoid the 1st one or two difficult people, but how about the 3rd, 5th, 10th person you encounter? Hiding isn't a permanent solution. What's more, in the context of work, it's usually difficult to avoid or hide from someone, unless you quit from a job totally. I don't know about you, but it doesn't seem feasible to quit every time someone has an opposing view or is being difficult.

So rather than turn to some drastic decisions each time, why not equip yourself with the skills to deal with them?

1. Be calm.

Losing your temper and flaring out at the other person typically isn't the best way to get him/her to collaborate with you. Unless you know that anger will trigger the person into action and you are consciously using it as a strategy to move him/her, it is better to assume a calm persona.

Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. Would you prefer to work with someone who is predominantly calm or someone who is always on edge? When the person you are dealing with sees that you are calm despite whatever he/she is doing, you will start getting their attention.

2. Understand the person's intentions.

I'd like to believe that no one is difficult for the sake of being difficult. Even when it may seem that the person is just out to get you, there is always some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way. Rarely is this motivation apparent. Try to identify the person's trigger: What is making him/her act in this manner? What is stopping him/her from cooperating with you? How can you help to meet his/her needs and resolve the situation?

3. Get some perspective from others.

In all likelihood, your colleagues, managers and friends must have experienced similar situations in some way or another. They will be able to see things from a different angle and offer a different take on the situation. Seek them out, share your story and listen to what they have to say. You might very well find some golden advice in amidst of the conversation.

4. Let the person know where you are coming from.

One thing that has worked for me is to let the person know my intentions behind what I am doing. Sometimes, they are being resistant because they think that you are just being difficult with them. Letting them in on the reason behind your actions and the full background of what is happening will enable them to empathize with your situation. This lets them get them on-board much easier.

Check back later this week to see how the next 4 tips will help you deal with a difficult individual at work.

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