How to deal with difficult people at work

Wednesday, January 20, 2016 - 16:19

By AIM Facilitator Gina Brooks

Do you deal with difficult people at work? What makes them difficult to work with? What is the difficulty that you experience when interacting with them? We don’t usually choose the people we work with. So the likelihood of not feeling ‘connected’ to some people at work is high. If you’re finding it hard to decide whether you should deal with a difficult person or not ask yourself the following questions:

Is this person important to me?

Is this relationship important to me?

Has this happened before?

Does this bother me or other people?

Can I invest my time?

If you answer “no” to any of the five questions, then you need to consider that it might not be worth resolving the issue. If you decide to deal with the difficulty then remember this:

In order to get something different you need to do something different

As we can’t control anything other than our own behaviour, plan what behaviours you’re going to change and what the new behaviours would look like.

How will you adapt your communication behaviours around this person? Will you be more assertive? Will you express your needs in a more honest and respectful way? Will you adapt your body language to demonstrate strength and confidence?

When we share our needs in an honest and respectful way we show people who we are. What’s important to us, what we believe and what our boundaries are. When we show people who we are we give them the opportunity to respect our boundaries and adapt their behaviour.

Maybe if we were all a little more honest we’d discover how “difficult” people are just different to us. They may have different values, beliefs and boundaries however we all have the same need for: respect and acceptance.

Be open to discovering who this “difficult” person is. You may have more in common than you think.

AIM’s Assertiveness Techniques short course will provide you with personal insight into the ways in which you respond to different people, situations and events. With a strong focus on communication and behaviour, it gives you tools and techniques to effectively manage your responses and express your views and plans.