What are some tips for dealing with difficult people at work?


Quick Answer

Tips for dealing with difficult people at work include being assertive, reporting the behavior to management, remaining calm, seeking advice from others and ignoring the behavior. Difficult people typically act aggressively when they feel threatened, so expressing genuine praise to such individuals may improve their behavior by helping to raise their self esteem.

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Full Answer

Difficult people often bully people they perceive as less powerful when they feel their competence is questioned. They often target individuals who are highly skilled or popular. Try to build a relationship with the individual to put her at ease. Objectively analyze your behavior to ensure that you are not exhibiting behaviors the individual may perceive as aggressive.

Reporting difficult people to management should be a last resort, signifying to superiors that you can address your own problems. Informal strategies include asking for assistance from colleagues in standing up to the behavior. Colleagues may also have had negative experiences with the difficult colleague and may provide moral support.

Being assertive in the face of workplace bullying communicates that you do not tolerate such behavior. Remaining calm projects confidence and authority that may end the negative behavior. Ignoring negative behavior may be necessary if attempts to improve the situation fail.

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