In our interactions with others, we’ve all had to deal with different individuals. Our response to these interactions will determine our experience and develop our perception of each person.
There are various reasons why you may categorize someone as “difficult.” These could be individuals who stick firmly to their opinions and are unwilling to shift grounds even as things get clarified. Some often lack compassion, concern, or empathy for others, people who tend to feel they are better than everyone else, those who won’t take responsibility for their actions, and more.
You can find difficult people everywhere, and the workplace is no exception. For example, you could encounter a problematic manager, co-worker, student, parent, guardian, administrator, or vendor. If you wish to succeed in your job, you’ll need to equip yourself with the necessary skills to deal with or interact with them.
It can be exhausting dealing with difficult people at work, but it is rewarding in the long run if appropriately handled. You only need to have the right skill set to keep the situation under control. In this article, we’ll discuss and highlight valuable strategies to go about it.
Do I have To Deal With A Difficult Person?
Ignoring a difficult person isn’t generally an option. Even if you were to change jobs, you’d still find them at your next workplace. When a situation goes unaddressed, it can’t improve. You need to face the issues and deal with them if you want things to get better.
It is natural to feel upset when treated in an unprofessional manner. However, it’s possible someone is just having a bad day, or they may be a more unpleasant person in general. Either way, if you can diffuse the situation and keep a calm head, you’ll increase your opportunity for a better outcome.
Dealing with difficult people is a learning process. It adds to your interpersonal skills and improves your professionalism.
Useful Strategies In Dealing With Difficult People
As much as it is necessary to deal with difficult people, you need to handle situations tactfully. For example, openly confronting a person who is being unreasonable and aggressive could end badly.
Here are some useful strategies to help you deal with a difficult person in the most productive manner.
- Have a Calm Demeanour
Naturally, a calm person is more respected. Being calm even as you relate with others compels the other person to reciprocate. People prefer to work with a coolheaded person, and even the most difficult people will be reluctant to enter into an altercation with a calm person. For instance, choosing to go into a head-to-head shouting contest with your colleague won’t succeed in getting them on board with the task assigned. Best have a calm demeanor. It encourages the person you’re dealing with to adjust their approach.
- Examine the Situation from the Person’s View
At times, we need to take a step back and see reasons, not actions. If we know why an individual acts in a particular manner, we’re better positioned to know what to do. There’s always an underlying motive for the actions of difficult people, and in most cases, they’re not always apparent. A good start to dealing with them is finding out their motivation. Is it something you can help out with, and if so, will it resolve the conflict? There’s a possibility that another external force is contributing to their behavior. If appropriate, you can ask them if something else is driving their actions.
- Seek the input of others
It is also good to get the opinion of others. For example, a colleague or friend of yours could have been in a similar situation. Discussing it with them and getting their advice may help assist you in handling your situation better.
- Establish Personal Rapport
Having a good rapport with people can reduce the number of conflicts and make it easier to resolve them if and when they arise. In addition, having some form of personal connection with a person makes working together easier. This can be achieved through lunch dates, learning about individual hobbies, family, and life in general.
- Be respectful in your dealing with others
There should be respect for all others in our interactions, and respect should be reciprocated. No one wants to be treated in an unprofessional manner, and one way to prevent this is by choosing not to treat others in an ill manner.
If you find yourself in dealing with a difficult situation as a Unit 4 member, consider reaching out to a colleague or someone in your position at another campus and ask how they’ve dealt with similar situations.
If you have an issue that goes against the APC contract, contact your local Steward.