Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Most have had to deal with someone at work who is always difficult. This can make going to work each day a dreaded task and can cause burnout and overall job unhappiness. What are some ways to cope with those difficult people and make work a little more enjoyable?

Having a good attitude yourself is important. Our own emotions and behaviors do not have to depend on others. We create our own attitudes and choose to act in certain ways. Remembering that our happiness does not depend on others is key. Self care is crucial in keeping a good attitude in the workplace. Setting goals, being organized and having a balance of home and work are key in maintaining self care.

Showing empathy and treating the difficult person with respect, despite their actions is important as well. Many people will change their behaviors around certain people. The difficult person may recognize the respect shown and make improvements in their own attitudes. This isn't always the case however. In these situations, again remembering that someone else's behaviors does not dictate your own behaviors. Treating people with compassion and understanding does not require reciprocity.

There are some people who may be considered beyond "difficult" and would more appropriately be considered abusive. It is important to be firm and assertive with these people, setting good personal and professional boundaries. When someone is abusive at work, it is important to clearly explain that the behavior needs to stop. If the person does not change, one should immediately notify a supervisor. In cases in which the difficult or abusive person is one's immediate supervisor, it may be appropriate to contact that person's supervisor or human resources to file an official complaint. Complaints need to be written and copies kept by the person making the complaint.

Difficult people are unfortunately always going to be part of the workplace. People often bring their own problems and struggles into their employment and may take those problems out on colleagues. Managing one's one behaviors, moods and setting appropriate boundaries can help to minimize workplace stress, burnout and overall job satisfaction.

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