Working with difficult people

Tips that you need when working with difficult people.

There’s nothing more exciting or scary than starting a new job or a new person joining your team. And I don’t know about you, but there is always a honeymoon period wherever I have worked and then slowly people’s true colours begin to surface. Very often it can be a case of personality differences or different ways of working that can be overcome over time. But other times it becomes an ongoing situation that begins to affect you personally. There is literally nothing worse than working with someone you don’t get along with professionally and sometimes it can escalate.

Here are my tips that I have picked up over the years. A lot that I wish I would have put into practise in the moment.

1. Take a Breath

This can seem patronising when your in the heat of the moment, but this is a rule I now live by. After what may need to be a VERY big breath I have the capability to hold my tongue and think. I always feel more in control and unable to be provoked into a reaction I may later regret.

2. Their Perspective 

This is the number 1 tip from my mum and I have to say she’s never wrong (she’ll love that). Very often people are behaving a certain way because of personal issues outside of work. They may be dumping their stress from their work load or something they are struggling to handle. Even if what they are doing is out of order or hard to deal this make’s it easier to understand.

3. Communication 

Depending on the kind of person they are or what the problem is, you may be able to find a way to communicate with them. I have found it wasn’t possible to come out and say everything they’ve done to upset me or make things difficult, but opening any line of communication did help the situation.

4. Don’t take it Personally

Very often the behaviour we experience or the way we are treated is actually nothing to do with us as a person. It May be a clash of work ethics, but that is not a character attack. The more I can treat something as a professional situation the more objective I can be and not take it home with me when the day is done.

5. Don’t suffer in Silence 

I find it very hard to speak out when I am not happy about something at work as I don’t like to cause a fuss. There have been situations where I have left things so long they have become completely unbearable. By doing this I have sacrificed my own happiness.  This is never the way forward and I have learnt from great people I have worked with that you shouldn’t be scared to speak up.

6. Professional Integrity 

Last but definitely not least and linking into point 5, professional integrity is a must. I have really learnt this lesson the hard way over the years. And now I am no longer afraid to say where my boundaries lay.  I have faith in my professional ability to be strong enough to say when something is out of line.

What are your best tips for working with difficult people?