In every workplace, there will be difficult people. Dealing with difficult coworkers can be frustrating and challenging to say the least. These might be the people who show up late, don’t turn their work in on time, or refuse to collaborate with others. We might find ourselves in a situation where we get so worked up and bothered over these situations that it begins to affect our own performance and morale. Rather than allowing yourself to get caught up in the frustration, equip yourself with the means to deal with noncooperative coworkers.
Seek to Understand the Person’s Intentions
It’s best to assume the other person isn’t being difficult for the sake of being difficult. Rather, there is probably some underlying reason that is motivating them to act that way. Try to find out exactly what is triggering their assertiveness and try to think of ways to meet their needs so you can resolve the situation. You can do this by leading with phrases such as “for my own clarification…” and “I’m curious about…”. These phrases suggest that you are sincerely interested in their point of view and it can make the other person less defensive.
Share Your Own Point of View
It can be helpful when you let the other person know your intentions as well. When you are seeking to reach an agreement with someone, it’s important that both sides understand each other’s needs. When you let them know the reasoning behind your actions it can enable them to empathize with your situation.
Always Be Polite and Respectful
It can be easy to get angry and lash out when we are frustrated with a difficult coworker. However, no one likes being treated that way and being combative will only cause the other person to raise their defenses. If you want to make progress with a difficult coworker, you must remember to always treat them with respect. This can help to build a rapport with your coworker so future discussions can be more successful.
Seek a Mutually Benefiting Solution
Oftentimes difficult people act the way they do because they feel threatened. When you remove the threat, you will usually find that they aren’t so bad underneath. You can do this by demonstrating a sincere interest in the other person’s needs and really working to find a way to meet those needs. Rather than simply trying to prove a point, seek a solution that will benefit both you and your coworkers. This will make them feel like you respect their feelings and they will be more likely to reach an agreement. You can offer to do your part by using phrases like “What can I do to help?” or “What would you like to see happen?”. They will usually be happy to provide you with an answer and the conversation will generally move in a positive direction.