EASE Monthly Articles

Are you having trouble with difficult people in your life at work? Encountering difficult people at work is bound to happen sooner or later. How YOU deal with a difficult co-worker can make all the difference in the world.

Most people do not want to deal with difficult people. Dealing with difficult people takes practice and patience. It is important to remain composed, cool, calm and collected.

Some questions to consider: Are you sure the other person is really the problem? Are you sure it is not you who is over reacting? What would you change about that person? Is it behavior - tardy, noisy, and messy or is it attitude - uncooperative, indifferent or negative?

Tips for working with difficult people:

Do not take difficult people’s behavior personally. Troublesome behavior is habitual and affects most people with whom they come in contact. Address the behavior that impacts your ability to get your work done.

  • Talk to the co-worker about what you are experiencing in "I" messages. You can also explain to your co-worker the impact of their actions on you.
  • Do not let their attitude become yours. You can only change your responses to their behavior and/or attitude. Instead, use the oldest trick in the book. Treat them with kindness. It’s the ultimate ammunition for fighting off difficult people.

Handling difficult people at work can be challenging. Remember that the mutual goal is to get the work done. A positive attitude and healthy approach to work creates a productive work place. Demonstrating kindness is likely to break down a barrier and you may find someone who could be a friend.

Conflict is a fact of life in the workplace and in families. For free confidential assistance and referrals with legal, financial, employment or mental health issues, EASE counselors are available to speak with you by calling (800) 882-1341.

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