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4 tips for coping with difficult people at work


Every business will have their share of difficult people. Whether it is co-workers, bosses, directors or customers, there will always be challenges in the workplace.

As a business owner or a co-worker, it is important to manage difficult people and difficult situations in order to maintain a healthy working environment.

The way problematic people are dealt with can have a detrimental effect on jobs, the working environment and even health. Check out a few helpful tips to ensure you are prepared should you encounter difficult people in your workplace.

1. Don’t take things personally

Some people are difficult because it’s in their nature. They might not think about what they say or do, it’s just the way they are. Their aim is often not to upset or irritate others, in many cases they probably don’t even realise they are acting in such a way.

If a comment is directed specifically at you, ignore it. It is important that you don’t bite or take it personally because it could make dealing with that person even more of a challenge than it already is. You have to remain professional in any situation.

2. Don’t make statements

Try to ask your staff or colleagues a question rather than throwing a statement at them. Sometimes people don’t always see the obvious and difficult people often have strong opinions. By asking a question you encourage them to recognise the issues in his/her own position.

3. Try not to refer to the person

It can be risky when you use a statement that contains ‘you’, directed at the other person; especially if it’s about something that is concerning you. It can sometimes seem like you are being aggressive or accusing them of lying. For example, “you didn’t send an email”. Try saying “I didn’t receive an email”.

4. Try not to be obnoxious

When the other person is being rude, keep your composure by not being the same back. You should stick to your facts and your arguments and always remain professional. If you disagree with someone’s opinion, unless you have a good reason for doing so, it’s wise not to say anything.

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