A colleague, client, subordinate or even a supervisor can be difficult from time to time. We all have been and we all will be again. Just because we have a bad day doesn’t make us difficult people. But when you see a pattern of repeated behaviors that result in disrupting workflow or creating toxicity in the atmosphere, you’re probably dealing with difficult people.
Avoidance is not the answer. Deal with difficult people in the workplace by confronting the problem. In career coaching, we look at strategies to effectively manage and reduce the impact difficult people have on you and your team. These strategies may include only you or a supervisor or even your whole team. But you need to be prepared with a strategy for effectively dealing with difficult people. Allowing bad behaviors to continue will only exacerbate the problem.
Here are a few tips for confronting bad workplace behaviors
- Wait at least 24 hours to cool down and see if the culprit will remedy the situation on their own.
- Develop a plan for addressing the behavior—what will be said, by whom, how and where and what is the end objective.
- During dialogue, be brief, get directly to the point and don’t stray from the topic.
- Stick to the facts and not personal interpretations or assumptions.
- Explain the impact. Share with the culprit what were the negative outcomes or perceived impressions that resulted from the behavior in question.
- Work together to develop a solution.
- Stay calm and on point.
- Once an agreement has been reached don’t rehash the issue outside of an agreed upon or mediated environment.