Dealing With Difficult People at Work

Dealing with difficult people at work

I was asked by a client how to work with prickly personalities. The question reminded me of when I fell into this spiny little bugger as I was hiking through Red Rock. Not only did it cut me, it left a bruise.

Now that we're heading back to brick and mortar offices, we can't avoid the prickly personalities like we used to. Here are a few strategies to help you avoid getting pricked by the cactus you work with:

1. Don't take their jabs personally. It could be that they're struggling with something that you don't know about. Empathy for this individual may be required.

2. Their perceived sharp tongue might just come down to their communication style. Often times, individuals are simply unaware of how they're coming across to others and are shocked when they learn that people view them as unapproachable.

3. Develop rapport. Take the time to get to know the cactus in your workplace. Making an effort to get to know someone, their interests, priorities, and their work, may turn their behavior around or they may at least give you the respect you deserve.

4. Stand up for yourself. When you experience a situation where you are not shown respect, take the high road and let them know in a composed, professional manner that you do not appreciate their behavior and then state how you want to be treated in the future. We teach others how to treat us. #SetBoundaries

5. Get support. Talk to a trusted co-worker for their insights, or to your supervisor or HR. Chances are, they're already aware of the prickly employee and may help you navigate or remove the challenging interactions.

Polly Meyer helps leaders achieve their goals and move in the direction they want to go. Contact Polly if you are interested in 1:1 coaching, team coaching, or tailored workshops.


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