Each of us can probably think of at least one difficult personality with whom we have had to deal with, either at work or in our personal lives. With a strategy, it is possible to learn what the person does to annoy you, and what you might be doing to aggravate the situation.
A difficult person can be your boss, your co-worker, or anyone else. He or she behaves in a way that is disruptive to business or life outside of work. In a work setting, often the functioning of a team is disturbed leading to a disruption of the work flow, flared tempers, and gossip. The bottom line is that work suffers and difficult situations cost organizations money.
To deal with difficult people, we innately try to apply coping filters, such as:
Anger also plays a big part; feeling angry, we instinctively use anger to try to manage the situation.
To break the cycle of negativity, take time to answer the following questions:
Three strategies will help you gather facts and use targeted strategies to deal with the person or the situation.
The first tactic, and possibly the most important, is to listen empathetically, which is listening while trying to be sensitive to the various components and levels of the message. We’ve already learned some strategies in module four for active listening. In addition, try to listen for the following information:
Note taking after a Discussion
A second tactic is to write down your recollection of the discussion that just took place. The notes can be used to support your next communication with the difficult person. Note taking also gives you the opportunity to plan and organize before the next communication takes place.
Writing Your Communication
Putting your thoughts into writing has three important benefits:
Elis was accused of losing some important papers by her co-worker. She was called into her boss’s office to explain the situation. Her boss was sometimes a difficult person to work with when issues like this appeared. Elis listened to her boss and noted his volume, tone, and what type of language he was using. By sitting there and just listening it allowed her to think positively and have a clear picture of the situation. Elis finally explained that she was away for a couple of days on vacation and that there is no way that the papers were with her. In the end, it turned out that her co-worker was guilty for the loss of the documents.