Your personal guide to working with difficult people at the workplace.
At some point, you have probably felt frustrated with a boss or co-worker. It almost seemed like there was something missing, you could never sell them on your idea or perspective. You probably grew more upset over time, you resisted working with them, and very soon after, you stopped trying completely.
You did your bare minimal and went home. Not because you wanted to but because the journey to get your thoughts and ideas to the other person seemed like an unpromising battle. However, if your cause is important enough, it’s worth taking the time and emotional energy to make your case. The opportunity is to work on gelling with the other party and get your work/ideas noticed. You could either play it nasty or play smart. If you choose to play SMART, the following points will help you navigate through the political hunger games:
1 Choose your battles wisely
There is a popular saying about timing: “There is a time and place for everything.” Rather than speaking up to soon, wait until the time is right, give yourself the luxury of time to collect evidence and supporting members to back you up.
2 Give genuine importance to this person’s work
The desire to feel important is one of the most important things people look for. As per Dale Carnegie, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” People crave for attention, admiration and approval and it is vital to do these things to appease your difficult person. That said, it is equally important to not come across as phony – flattering comments, fake kudos and cute remarks never work with intelligent people. This means asking for their take on things and giving sincere appreciation when they make a valid point.
3 Skip the hunger games over e-mail and teleconference
It is highly likely that the individual you’re working with has a strong appetite for writing long useless e-mails or saying senseless things during meetings. In that case, make sure to keep your defence mechanism in check and project yourself as someone that wants to learn. Ask questions like: could you educate me on how this works and what steps are involved or what makes this approach work as compared to others?
4 Avoid the blame game
When things go wrong, it is a natural inclination to deflect blame – even though you might be somewhat in the wrong. However, this does not help your case at all. Deflecting blame makes you look like the person that does not take accountability for their actions.
5 When nothing seems to work
Examine yourself; this may be exactly what you need. While you’re busy trying to critique this work situation – do examine yourself as well. Recognize some of your hot buttons and make an active effort on improving them.
About Kriti Chopra
Kriti Chopra is an HR Professional with expertise in Talent Acquisition. Her work is inspired by her experiences as she has worked for various small and large size businesses.