Typically, one of the most challenging parts of any job is working with other, potentially difficult people, even if you all generally get along. But, when a co-worker is particularly difficult, the situation quickly becomes more stressful, making it hard to get tasks completed or simply remain in a good mood.
While you can’t necessarily escape the situation entirely, you do have options to make it more manageable. With that in mind, here are some tips for working with difficult people you can start using today.
Make Validating Their Feelings the First Thing You Do
Most of us have encountered a scenario where a co-worker is frustratingly passive-aggressive or generally takes out their anger on those around them, regardless of whether you were responsible for their current situation. While it is easy to react to them in kind, allowing your own stress levels to escalate with theirs, a better approach is empathy.
For example, instead of reacting to their frustration, consider why they may be feeling this way and try to see things from their perspective. Then, instead of pushing back immediately, offer them some validation by letting them know that you understand their feelings.
Often, this helps you shift your attitude, moving to a place of empathy instead of anger. Plus, by feeling understood, your co-worker may also begin to calm, allowing them to change their attitude as well.
Make Your Needs Clear
If a co-worker is being combative instead of constructive during a conversation, it’s easy for tensions to mount, leaving everyone angry. However, you can prevent this from occurring by succinctly expressing your needs in relation to the situation.
For example, if your co-worker says they hate your idea, feel free to let them know a statement like that doesn’t help you improve and that you would prefer specific feedback regarding the idea so that you can reach a resolution that suits everyone.
Ultimately, this involves letting others know what does or doesn’t work for you while being assertive as you discuss your point. It also includes an explanation as to why the approaching isn’t effective, as well as a simple resolution that allows everyone to get back on the right track.
Learn to Say “No”
Some people have a tendency toward being people-pleasers and, if someone takes advantage of that, it can quickly breed resentment and frustration. However, the person who needs to act in these situations is you, by learning to say no and setting reasonable boundaries when a request is simply more than you can handle.
Ideally, you want to say now, provide a concise explanation as to why it doesn’t work for you, and potentially offer an alternative, but only if one exists that meets your needs as well. It can take time to get comfortable with saying “no,” but it is definitely worth the effort.
If you are interested in learning more or are hoping to find a new position with less difficult people, the professionals at The Advance Group can help. Contact us today to see how our services and expertise can work for you.