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Dealing With Difficult People At Work

Source | LinkedIn : By James Caan CBE

The world is full of different people with different values and different personalities. So of course, it’s very likely you will experience some personality clashes in the office.

However, in some cases you may feel as though a colleague’s behaviour is unacceptable. They may be crossing the line a little too hastily.

As a manager, I’ve experienced this several times throughout my portfolio. Here are a few tips for dealing with such a situation;

Eliminate, not emulate

When someone is behaving badly and spreading negativity in the office it’s difficult trying to ensure it doesn’t affect you in the same way.

Negativity breeds itself and if you have to spend your day with a colleague you’re not compatible with, it’s really hard to muster up the motivation to get on with your work and be the best you can be, this is especially true if your role requires a lot of collaborative thinking.

The trick is to not let it get you down. Whenever you’re feeling frustrated at a colleague, let yourself feel that way for a few minutes and then let it go.   

I always think people spend too much time worrying and going over things other people said – over analysing and working themselves up, often for no reason. Stress doesn’t help any situation so avoid emulating any negative characteristics.

Use a head-on approach

If you’re having trouble working with a colleague, it’s important you attempt to resolve your issues as soon as possible. Often, this person will be oblivious to the fact you’re not enjoying your working relationship… if you don’t address the problem and let them know what you’re having difficulty with, how do you expect them to change?

I know it can be an awkward conversation, but it’s the only way to professionally come to a resolution which is beneficial for you both.  

Listen, acknowledge and take action

Once you’ve made them aware of the situation, it’s important you actively listen to what they have to say. Acknowledge their concerns, validate their feelings, try to understand their behaviour but DO NOT take the blame.

It’s important you remain professional, so avoid getting personal and evidently frustrated, stay calm and open minded yet assertive at the same time.

Always make sure you end the conversation with a clear resolution; a list of actions you’re both going to take to ensure this hasn’t just been a waste of your time but a productive exercise which has saved your working relationship and thus, the project you’re working on.

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