When we think of difficult personality types, we can be quick to attach a label: bossy, rude, know-it-all, phony, whiner, judgmental. These and other words are used to describe and categorize others. Perhaps these labels have even been used on us.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists some additional labels that professional health-care providers use: antisocial, obsessive-compulsive, narcissistic and passive-aggressive, to name a few.
Unfortunately, while they may be helpful in terms of treatment, labels can also prevent us from truly understanding individuals.
Here are Six tips for dealing with difficult people at work.
Know their Intentions:
Most difficult people behave the way they do for attention. However, it is always better to give one the benefit of the doubt and knowing the actual reason for his anger. Try to find answers to these questions from the person or others:
What is making him or her act in this manner?
Why is he not willing to cooperate with you?
Is there a way you can help him or her out?
Is there something bothering him – personally/professionally?
The Art of Listening:
While you think you are trying to help the person, he may be under an impression that his troubling acts might do wonders. Under such scenarios, the art of listening is the useful trick to applying. Just be calm and all ears to him, a calm mind could make him think that his actions are not working as expected and he may start cooperating with you from next time.
Build a Rapport:
At times, you may find a person genuinely upset. For example, you are the new boss of the team, and you later come to know your team member was chosen to be the next team leader, and somehow due to process issue or factor it did not work out. In such cases, it is best to try building a rapport with the person, you would need to earn respect before your team would listen and cooperate with you.
Value Your Time:
Time is crucial for you and you need to understand that you do not have a whole day to listen to him or to lend him your shoulder or to listen to his war skills. Therefore, if he is taking too much of your time, excuse yourself politely with an important meeting or some deliverable to complete or even a personal phone call. Make sure to let him know that the meeting is inconclusive as you are not able to find an issue or problem. The above statement provides a clear indication that the individual’s acts are causing a lot of trouble, and that it is time to stop them.
Stand up for Yourself:
In a public meeting or even in a one-to-one if the person is abusing you or bullying you, it is time for you to stand up for yourself. An appropriate answer back to him could shut his mouth and if he still continues, you could walk out from the meeting without creating a scene.Walking out would help in ending the mess and also give you enough time to prepare and react to his arguments.
Escalate any Inappropriate Behavior:
If it is getting tough for you, and none of the above tips are working out, next would be to collect data points in written and escalate the matter to higher management. At times, it is okay to let higher management react and handle a situation. Do not feel bad about the consequences.
Creating a workplace is a responsibility we all share, and everyone should abide it. People have issues, problems, and concerns and the proper channel would help them get resolved.
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