Dealing with “difficult” coworkers can turn an ideal job into a bitter warzone. Just one hard to handle person is enough to transform and effortless task into an arduous one. But fear not - complications like this are not without solutions. There are tools to make the unmanageable manageable, even enjoyable!
Mindfulness is a great coping tool
Before reacting to a troublesome colleague, take time to be aware of the situation. Anxiety distracts one from seeking solutions. When emotions rule, logic and reason are often left behind. Rather than quickly reacting to someone’s feelings, take the time to become more aware of the situation. That can provide just enough time to consider potential solutions. Stop, remain calm, and ponder what to do next. Resist the urge to knee-jerk react to alarming situations and people.
Consider taking a moment to talk about the situation with a third party, like a close friend or an intuitive guide.
Difficult people are confusing
The first assumption many arrive at when dealing with a difficult person is that their tiresome behavior is directed at you. This makes it easy to take it personal. Frequently, the reality is that something else is the root cause. A crisis at home, financial issues, or even health concerns; there could be many legitimate reasons why a person acts in a nonproductive manner at work. The best practice is to never make assumptions. The histories and backstories can be complex.
Remember, this isn’t a popularity contest
We all want to be liked at work. No one wants to be unpopular or talked ill on in the break room. But in a world full of different people, life experiences, and personalities, it is impossible to be universally admired. Some people have fixed ideas concerning the kind of people they wish to be friendly. This is where “radical acceptance” is an asset.
The reality of the human experience is that people are not going to be equally friendly to all people all of the time. This is not about fault, or blame, or one person being better or lesser than others. We just have to accept the fact that coworkers may never become close friends, buddies, or spend after hours socializing.
But what we can do is…
Simply be civil
We can be respectful to all people and no one should be rude in the workplace. Having the expectation that all our coworkers will be friends is unrealistic. But having and helping to maintain the expectation of basic civil nicety is not only realistic, but a goal worthy of pursuing.
Find the fix, but don’t be the fixer
One approach to dealing with burdensome personalities is to attempt to “figure” out what is wrong. We make consider asking genuine and blameless questions. One may even attempt to forge a friendship in order to learn more. Some even go so far as to being their ersatz therapist or their “fixer” – but you should always resist that temptation!
No matter how well intended, you are not at work to “repair” anyone. You are at work. This is a professional environment. Becoming deeply involved with a coworker that has been problematic to you is an invitation to a host of troubles. They may like you one day, and deeply resent you the next. You have no idea how they may react to your well-intended advice. It is entirely possible you could turn an uncomfortable workplace into a literal nightmare. At the very worst, you may jeopardize your employment.
Everyone wants work to be pleasant and the best way to do this is to have realistic expectations. Having strategies in place is an effective way to eliminate the guess work out of handling difficult coworkers.
Seeking more guidance to help you work through a difficult stretch of workplace drama? Give me a call! The Psychics on PathForward are always here to offer you the guidance you need on the path ahead.