It is not easy to deal with difficult people. Most people prefer not to have to work with or associate with a difficult person. Often times we contribute to the uncomfortable environment in the way we deal with people that we consider to be difficult. The next time you are faced with the challenge of dealing with a difficult person, consider these 5 steps to change the atmosphere.
- Self Examine
In most cases, it is easier to see what everyone else is doing wrong with no consideration of what we can do differently. It is rare that a problem is effectively solved without self-examination. In every situation, it is more advantageous or provides room for growth when we are mature and responsible enough to turn the pointing finger inward and ask the big question: what could I have done differently in this situation or in dealing with this person? When we discover solutions through self-examination they benefit us more and provides personal growth that we can take through out our life as opposed to insisting that everyone else around us has to change.
- Keep cool
It is very important not to take difficult people personally because most of the time it is about them. Being able to recognize that people often respond out of a place of hurt, anger, and inner inefficiencies that are not always released where it was inflicted can help you in this process. Once you are able to keep your composure and calmly examine that situation you may realize not reacting provides the other person an outlet for their frustration which doesn’t make it right but it allows you to not be impacted by it.
- Be proactive, not reactive
Sometimes there is a root cause of a difficult person’s madness that you may be able to uncover proactively as opposed to reacting, which at that point is usually too late. It is common to assume that the other person knows what’s wrong with you, what they did to you or how they offended you; when more often than not they are absolutely clueless. Try being proactive and having a candid conversation where you are honest about how you feel- but patient enough to listen more and talk less. Allowing the other person to say more allows you to hear even the things that are unsaid, which are often most important. Through the conversation look for possible solutions that would eliminate the need to react moving forward.
- Be the bigger person
In most situations, some one has to be willing to be the bigger person. Once you are happy and content with who you are there is less of an impact that a difficult person can have on you because you have chosen to rise above. When a choice is made it is evident in every action including how we deal with other people. Being the bigger person makes it easier; even a positive way of thinking results in a positive impact on what you do and how you do it, as a result, there will be fewer things bothering you.
- Seek help if needed
If you have implemented all of the steps listed above to deal with the difficult person in your workplace and it seems that the situation has actually gotten worse than better, it is ok to seek an intervention from a higher authority. This is not the “run to” solution for every occurrence, but more so the final attempt. Once a resolution or root cause is discovered do not continue to hold on to the past challenges of dealing with that person but rather continue with the steps again and start by asking what can I do differently, because of the intervention the steps can possibly create a different reaction.
Dealing with a difficult person is not easy, but ignoring it doesn’t just make it go away. Make a conscious decision not to be a prison in your own space but rather deal with things calmly and proactively by looking within because what we do ultimately creates a reactive cycle continues if not broken and healed.