4 Ways to Deal with Difficult Colleagues and Get what you Need

In every workplace across every sector, the chances are you will have to deal with difficult people.

Personality clashes at work are not uncommon, but it is incredibly important to craft the art of dealing with difficult colleagues. Failing to address and/or correctly react to a situation can make things worse, and ultimately lead to fall outs and negative consequences. You can still achieve your desired goals and get what you need at work by dealing with difficult or stubborn coworkers the right way:

1. Open the lines of communication
Shutting down, withdrawing and failing to effectively communicate can be one of the worst ways to deal with confrontation. If you are having difficulty with colleagues, it’s important to address it honestly and openly, to ensure not only that the project goals are met, but also that your confidence is not undermined.

2. Take a step back
It can often be the case that when dealing with difficult personalities that tempers can flare, and it can become hard to look at things objectively. By obtaining a different view of the conflict, you may be able to determine what is really causing it, and therefore how best to deal with it.

3. Be accountable
If you are dealing with a difficult co-worker, take accountability for your role in the conflict. By showing some hubris, you can win the respect of the colleague in question, and by reverting back to step one, get on the road to reaching a fair solution.

4. (Avoid but) Don’t be afraid of confrontation
If a colleague is being challenging and unwilling to reach a compromise, don’t shy away from issue. In order to get what you want, you have to be assertive. If they are unwilling to meet you in the middle, you may suggest a number or solutions first before having a meeting with HR to have some intervention in the hopes that the issue can be resolved.

A simple rule in dealing with those who are hard to get along with is to remember that this person is striving to assert his superiority; and you must deal with him from that point of view.

Alfred Adler
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