Hostile Work Environment Law & Related Topics

A Strategy For Dealing With Difficult People In The Workplace

The workplace is a veritable source of pressure, and especially so if you have to deal with difficult people at work. But you are lucky if your problem is limited to difficult co-workers. What if the problem is a difficult superior whose pastime is making sure you dwell in a hostile working environment?

Difficult people at work, whether they are co-workers or superiors, are the usual cause of workplace stress. And since this is a naturally-occurring condition considering the different types of people working even in a small office (imagine if you work in a conglomerate!), you have to learn to manage these sorts of problems. Most of the time, your attitude towards these people will decide whether or not you have a relaxing or a stressful office life. You cannot control the behavior of difficult people at work but you can always control your reaction towards them.

If you have a very good self esteem then these people would not matter and you will probably already know how to deal with them. But if you have a low regard for yourself (even for your value as a worker) then obnoxious co-workers can pose a problem for you. Here are clues that will give you a warning as to who these people are (so you would know how to handle them):

  • Mr. or Ms. Know-It-All – the office workers who have an abundance of false self esteem and believe that they know everything there is to know.
  • The Griper – These people are always n the lookout for things to complain about and pull everyone else down.
  • The Dictator – These people think they are born leaders (or commanders) and will try to dictate or control is just about every circumstance.
  • The Office Bully – These people will examine you and if they think you are too soft, beware.
  • The Yes Employee – These are people who cannot say no and will agree to just about anything even if they cannot deliver.

You must develop a program or strategy if you encounter any of them in the office. You ideally should be prepared because they can strike anywhere and anytime. Showing you are soft will make them pick on you. Showing that you are a toughie will somehow make them think twice about picking up a fight with you. In both cases, you must be mentally prepared to deal with them and follow a strategy in advance.

Ignoring difficult people at work can be a good decision but for how long? There will come a time when they will set a trap to challenge your apathy. When that time comes, you must have a ready-made plan or strategy to address this.

Do not fall into the trap of confronting them when you are too angry to be rational! Take time to let your anger diffuse and then talk to them objectively. Avoiding them after an incident will only make matters worse. These people need to know you are able to fight back if they do not leave you alone.

Telling the boss (if the boss is not the difficult person) can be a mistake because you are only giving them (your co-workers) the opportunity to call you a whiner. It is best to deal with difficult people on your own to show them you have backbone prove that you are a person who cannot be willfully manipulated.

↑ Back to Top