Difficult people exist in every organization. Dealing with them can be tricky when they attack you, criticize your opinion or undermine your professional contribution. They may demonstrate a variety of workplace behaviors and patterns that redirects all your positive energy in unproductive exchanges.
While the situations become complex and unpredictable, it becomes pivotal to address these situations in time to avoid unconstructive discussion to erupt at the surface of your work.
We recommend you take the following few steps to mitigate these situations
1- Identifying the cause– It is important to turn the situation inwards and analyze your own triggers and reactions.
To make it simpler for you answer few questions for yourself
a- How do you react to a difficult person at your workplace?
b- How does a difficult person react to your reaction?
c- If a difficult person criticizes you, are you giving unhealthy reactions or responses in return?
How do other people react to your response?
Answer to these questions would prepare you to become self-aware and handle difficult situations, people, and uncomfortable dialogues.
To practice this, it is important to understand that emotionally difficult dialogues feed into your frustration and people miss out on facts and evidence. This results in a vicious circle of creating stories and assumptions around people and situations at work.
2- Focused conversation–To handle difficult people it is inevitable to focus on making your conversations objective and fact-based. This curbs the situation from becoming difficult and unhealthy with anyone at your workplace.
Having focused and effective conversation also helps you in understanding people and situations better and reflects positivity around.
3- Leveraging your emotional control – In order to handle difficult people, learn to choose your battles carefully. Few people and situations do not require your attention, energy, or time. Start working on your emotions each day and keep the bigger picture or outcome in your mind. It is easier said than done but focusing yourself to think different ways to create good outcomes helps your brain go into a more positive mode of thinking.
In case everything fails seek help from others, you are not alone who is facing these situations. Sometimes it is important to take advice from others or find someone who can coach you to shift your mindset. Coaching can really help you to reframe the problem and look for possible solutions.
Blanchard recommends you adopt Coaching as a skill to handle and overcome difficult people and situations at work. The keys benefit of having Coaching are
a- Having coaching conversation make you self-reliant and make you a proactive problem solver.
b-The focused conversations bring objectivity in discussions. It helps you in focusing on facts and evidences and clears blockages of assumptions and the room for difficult and unproductive dialogues.
c- The easy steps of the coaching framework leave the conversation with clear agreements between both parties. This assists you in forward-thinking and mutual respect with your colleagues.
d- Shifting your mindset from natural tendencies to a coaching mindset helps you in inclining towards a positive outlook to your work and people around you.
Your job is to call out the bad behavior immediately when you experience it. Take the appropriate steps in time and do what needs to be done firmly, clearly, and gracefully.