We have all had that day. The one we wish we could do over or not have to do at all. We not only faced a challenged but we also faced with a co-worker, family member, friend or boss who was being difficult to work with.
Difficult people or people we have may have a hard time working with are everywhere. It is how we choose to handle the situation that will make us successful or cause us further headaches.
You and I can learn how to work effectively with difficult people if we know what steps to take.
There are many things that can be learned from Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People. If you have read this book I recommend reading it again to better understand human relationships.
If you have not read the book, that’s ok. I will be going through how you can work with difficult people in more detail.
Effectively Work with Difficult People
Did you know when we are trying to work with “difficult people” they really don’t think about how they will make us feel with their actions or words.
People who are difficult to work with usually concentrate on themselves. There motto is, what is in it for me. To the difficult people, you work must work with, you are the obstacle between them and their goal.
Difficult people usually do not change on their own, and you will not be able to change them. Since difficult people rarely adjust their behaviors, they become predictable.
What you can do is get good at preparing yourself for meetings with these people and understand what to expect.
When faced with difficult people go in with a positive attitude. It can help you overcome challenges and keep you from getting angry with the person you are not seeing eye to eye.
You can use similar strategies with difficult people as you would use with angry customer. Just like you would do with an angry customer, you can ask the person who is being challenging to clarify the problem by asking them to explain the problem to you.
The people who have good people skills, will ask close ended questions that require a ‘yes or ‘no’ answer. They will also ask questions that give the other person a choice of 2 options to choose from.
The people who have the best people skills will ask great open-ended questions. This gets the other person talking about their view and opinions of the problem at hand.
If you are going to have a conversation with a difficult person and are looking for a positive outcome, it is important to take notes of the meeting. It will act as a permanent record you can go back to if there are any misunderstandings once the conversation is over.
Now, whether you are an employee, the boss, a parent or a mediator don’t let difficult people put a negative perspective on how you view your work, business or family life.
One of the problems employees have with their leadership team is that to many bosses have an egotistical view of their position at work. Because they out rank others they abuse their position of power.
If you want to work effectively with people in higher positions than you, sometimes you must feed their ego. It is all about recognizing how to be people smart.
Tell your boss, manager or supervisor how they have been important in developing your profession career. Everyone wants to feel important and know they have helped you in some way.
It is important to note that you should never angry and raise your voice to your boss. You must remain calm and even ask to leave the meeting before you say something you will regret.
A good way to deal with your bosses is simply to count under your breath. This means to take a deep breath and count to 20,30, 40 or 60, before you speak. Learning how to count and breath can be learned in mindful meditation.
If other people are around, and there is an argument, your superior may take any opportunity to make him or herself look blameless. The best thing to do is not allow the disagreement between you and your boss become public. It is your job not to spread negative about the situation or the company.
Group Dynamics, Clients and Other Difficult Situations
Did you know that people who are tight-lipped can pose problems for organizations?
Sometimes a relationship between you and a co-worker can worsen. You can ask for a mediation or consult with your boss before someone must leave the group. Most workplace problems can be traced to confusion.
To eliminate confusion and misunderstandings the team needs to communicate effectively and often. Allow people on the team to feel a part of the process by asking them to suggest ideas or established procedures.
You can check in with your team periodicity to see if they need any help getting tasks completed.
If you have any disagreement with people on your team arrange to speak with them in private. If you are the boss don’t threaten people on the team with a letter of termination. Instead, see what you can do to help them become more productive.
Give the person room to improve. If they are not able to over a given amount of time you may have to consider letting the person go.
Clients are the backbone of every business. If customers are not happy with your company or service, something may need to change. The best companies keep an open dialogue with the customer and try to understand what is going on with customer relations.
When you ask a question to your customer make sure you listen to what the client has to say. Ask open-ended question. We can all get better by learning how to effectively increase communication.
One of the best ways to make sure fewer customer problems is to let them know if anything major will happen at your company that can change the way business is done.
If problems do come up the best thing you can do is address the problem in a timely manner. You can contact the customer by phone or it possible look to set up a face to face meeting. With all the technology available, you can easily set up a Skype call if the customer is not in the same city as you.
It is important to listen and not get angry yourself. If you get angry at your customer, this will only result in lost business and sales for you.
Ask a question and listen. Do not interrupt them as they explain their frustration. When you do speak use empathy and slow down your tone and use a soft voice. This can help bring calm to the situation and the customer.
Other Difficult Situations
I am sure you already know that gossip destroys trust, team moral and the communication channel with customers and people on your team. Do not partake in gossip even when the person you want to talk about is being difficult to work with.
There is always that one person in the office that knows everything. He or she knows more because they have been there the longest or they just seem to be smarter than everyone.
Don’t get in to a battle with these difficult people. You don’t need to show off your vast knowledge because they feel they need to. All you have to do is say, “You might be right, why don’t we check this fact together and get some clarification.”
By telling them they are right you help save face if either party if right or wrong.
Some people are not difficult people, they just have lazy habits.
The best way to deal with lazy employees is to first, double-check your part of their work. Make sure the assignment you gave them had clear instructions.
If your instruction was clear then you should ask the employee if there is anything you can do to help them complete the tasks that are falling behind?
You can sit them the employee and develop a game plan that helps them increase productivity. Most people when you show them you are willing to work with them will improve over time. They can even become your best employee.
Now actual lazy people try to blame others and often will get others to finish their work for them. Then they will not share credit for having completed the project. If someone is always trying to get you to complete their work, you must learn to say, NO.
The Bullying Boss
There is no place for bullying in the work place. It is important to have employees and the management team treat each other with respect and in a civil manner.
If you are being bullied by the boss, be prepared to respond accordingly. Remember to focus on business and not lash out with personal attacks, as they might be doing.
An important fact to consider is that bullies cannot bully you unless you play the role of the victim. Fundamentally, bullies shut their eyes and ears and are not aware of their behavior. If you are the one who is being bullied you should do whatever it takes to open your boss’s eyes and ears without becoming a bully yourself.
First, try to have a sensible conversation with your boss. Sit them down and explain things from your view-point. Second, if things do not get better you may have to take them higher up the chain of command at work. Talk to human resources.
Dealing with the Perpetual Critic
No one is perfect and we can all use some positive criticism to help us improve in the areas we lack.
Criticism can be important to help you move up in the company no matter your position. Unfortunately, there are people who only offer criticism and never offer others a word of praise.
You can ask your boss or ever a co-worker for a quick meeting. Ask them what areas they feel you are excelling at and ask them where they feel you can improve. If they are open and honest with you, you can refine your work process and become more efficient.
When asking the boss or your fellow employee for criticism make sure it does not get personal. If it does cut the meeting short or get them back on the topic of how you can improve at work.
The same goes for you. If someone asks you to sit down and answer the same 2 questions don’t make it personal.
There is that one person at your place of employment that is a perfectionist. They are hard workers but like to make sure everything is perfect.
Perfectionist have a hard time working with others or delegating work that requires attention.
There is one good thing I found working with perfectionist. They can help raise the standards others have of themselves. Not saying we should all be perfectionist but some of us could elevate our standards.
If you have a problem with someone who is a perfectionist, help them understand nothing will ever be ‘perfect’. All they can ensure is that they have done the work to the best of their ability based on the resources and tools they had to work with
Stubborn people can be some of the most difficult people to work with because they don’t want things to change. They have a hard time asking for help and sometimes work to their own standards.
As the team lead, boss, manager, mentor or coach your goal is to ensure these people understand your role. They know that you are there to answer questions and help them where it is needed.
If you have been in the work force long enough you know that not everyone gets along all the time. Regardless, every member of the team has the right to feel happy and not vulnerable.
When we face such people we typically don’t know what to do and can end up feeling stressed. This is how you can handle stress when faced with this situation.
Every day we face new challenges. We need to choose ways to work with difficult people or be frustrated when things don’t work out.
Bosses, co-workers and customers can make it hard for us but if we understand the steps we can take in each situation we can have better success.
When you learn how to work with difficult people, you learn how to handle your stress better, you do not get angry, you become people smart and you start to become an effective leader. Someone your team or team members can look up to.
Do you have a better understanding on how you should deal with difficult people?
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