How Do You Deal With Difficult People at Work?


Quick Answer

Dealing with a difficult person at work can be accomplished by having a private conversation with that individual, confronting the person's behavior in a public fashion and involving others in the conflict. Following up on a previous conversation may be necessary to ensure that the dispute is settled.

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Full Answer

Pulling the coworker to the side and expressing problematic issues may force that person to realize his behavior is affecting other coworkers. The confronting person should be honest and direct about the offending person's transgressions. The individual opening the dialogue should do so in a respectful manner. Both parties must come to a mutual agreement. The offended person must handle the situation with assertiveness instead of matching aggression with aggression. A person is less likely to engage in the behavior again to avoid another confrontation.

Choosing whether or not to have another conversation must also be based on the importance of the job. Highlighting the behavior in a public manner is another option if a private conversation does not work. Exhibiting sarcasm or humor can be a subtle way of making conflicts public knowledge. Dramatic physical gestures diffuse tense situations. For instance, placing a hand over the heart indicates that feelings are being hurt. Involving other coworkers in the conflict calls more attention to the situation, which may attract the attention of management.

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