Unfortunately, difficult people can be found in any job – from employees who won’t take direction, to disconnected upper management, to demanding clients.
Fortunately, difficult people can be easy to deal with; you just have to embrace the right mindset. Consider the following tips on how to deal with difficult people at work.
Dealing with a difficult employee
At some point, every manager ends up having to deal with a difficult employee. It’s how that employee is handled with that separates the good managers from the poor managers.
Difficult employees are best handled methodically. First, it’s important to evaluate the situation and determine what makes the employee so difficult. Second, you should develop a plan to counsel, coach, train or discipline the employee. Third, you need to confront the employee and in so doing, focus on work habits, not him or her personally. Finally, the two of you need to develop a plan for moving forward. If that isn’t possible, the employee should be let go.
Dealing with a bullying co-worker
We all agree that bullying should have been left on the schoolyard playground, but unfortunately that isn’t reality. One strategy for dealing with an office bully is to not engage in the bullying behavior. Don’t try to be the victim or the hero. Simply put up a mental barrier between the person’s words or actions and yourself. Then, try to avoid that person when possible.
Keeping a record of a co-worker’s bullying action can be useful if the situation gets to the point where management must get involved.
Dealing with an office rival
Healthy competition is a good part of any workplace. However, some people take that healthy competition to an uncomfortable place.
If you have a co-worker who is always trying to one-up you, the best strategy is to simply put your head down and focus on your job, trusting that management will properly recognize your achievements.
Dealing with a difficult client
There are difficult clients in every business and effectively dealing with them is a real skill. The source of a difficult relationship with a client is often bad communication. Be sure you always communicate clearly with more difficult clients and never assume they have bad intention.
It’s also important to be firm and set expectations that all parties can live with. If you make a mistake in the relationship, own up to it. If the client makes a mistake, be forgiving.
Dealing with a difficult boss
First of all, it’s important to establish that your boss truly is being difficult. Determine if others are having similar issues with him or her and try to figure out why they are being so difficult.
Once you understand why your boss is so difficult, you can decide if it’s possible to stay off their radar, if you can work with them or if you need to find a new job.
At NSC, we regularly work with folks trying to get out of a bad job situation. Please contact us today to find out how we can help you.