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Zen expert who works with Google says this is the No. 1 way to deal with ‘difficult’ people at work

By | Renée Onque |

Let’s face it, you won’t see eye-to-eye with everyone you work with — no matter how hard you try. From co-workers to bosses, there are probably more than a few people who you consider to be difficult.

And we’re all the “difficult person” in at least one other person’s story, says Marc Lesser, a Zen teacher and executive coach with clients like Google and Facebook, and CEO of consulting company, ZBA Associates.

“An important and fundamental distinction to make is between ‘difficult people’ and behaviors or actions that we find difficult,” Lesser wrote in his upcoming book, “Finding Clarity: How Compassionate Accountability Builds Vibrant Relationships, Thriving Workplaces, and Meaningful Lives.”

If you simply view situations as difficult, instead of labeling the people you’re in conflict with as such, you can approach problems differently and come up with solutions, he adds.

Here’s the best way to navigate those uncomfortable conversations at work.

The No. 1 way to handle ‘difficult’ people: Be curious

“When we experience someone else as difficult,” Lesser says, “there is a strong human tendency to immediately think that we know what this other person’s intention is.”

Instead of reacting strongly or blaming the person for the feelings you’re experiencing, “be curious, not furious,” he suggests.

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