Dealing with difficult people

7 Amazing Tips for Dealing With Difficult People at Work

If you are dealing with difficult people at work, you must know how to handle them. The easiest way is to adapt to their behavior. But it will require a bit of effort at first.

Dealing with difficult people at work can be rewarding. Your colleagues will appreciate your ability to deal with them.

Dealing with difficult people can be very challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. There are approaches you can utilize to defuse conflict and avoid embarrassment. For example, one effective tactic is to show respect and empathy for the other person. This will help the difficult person feel heard and move the conversation to solutions.

Note that showing respect doesn’t mean you agree with their opinions. It just shows that you are willing to listen to their ideas and listen to their concerns. Also, it can help to express your ideas in a manner that shows respect and professionalism.

Tips for Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Here are some tips for dealing with difficult people at work:

Avoid Confrontations

While you can’t completely avoid confrontations when dealing with difficult people at work, you can minimize the effects of their behavior. First, you can back off if the situation is not productive. For example, you might be on a project you don’t enjoy working on.

Next, try to avoid confrontations in front of others. A difficult person is likely to become fixed on defending their actions and arguing about the validity of their arguments. Instead, try to find a solution that can make both parties happier.

You can even follow up with the difficult person after the incident to see if the situation has improved.

Another effective way to avoid confrontations is to keep your cool. Stay calm and focused, and remind yourself that you’re trying to achieve peaceful coexistence.

Practicing deep breathing exercises or visualization can help you calm down. In addition, try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective.

Lastly, it’s important to remember that difficult people may just be struggling with certain aspects of their personalities or life.

You might not be able to understand their perspective, but trying to understand their point of view can help you improve your relationship.

Show Compassion

Showing compassion can be a powerful tool for resolving conflicts with difficult people. It can soften the grip of anger or annoyance and help you accept the other person’s point of view. Likewise, compassion can help you find ways to make a difficult person feel comfortable around you.

To practice compassionate empathy, you must first understand the person’s situation. For example, a team member struggling with a marriage breakdown may not feel comfortable in a threatening environment, but receiving compassion from colleagues can help them rebuild their self-esteem and maintain their productivity.

You will likely be rewarded with reciprocal kindness and appreciation by demonstrating genuine concern for your coworkers.

Another effective way to demonstrate compassion is verbally encouraging those you work with. If you are a leader or manager, speaking positive words to others can help you set a positive example for others.

For example, try encouraging and positive when dealing with a difficult customer. This may seem obvious, but it has a profound impact.

While dealing with difficult people at work can be draining and frustrating, it is essential to remember that individual may have their own life outside of work.

The person you are dealing with may also be struggling with a difficult situation at home. Approaching people with empathy is usually a good place to start.

If the situation escalates, it may be time to approach management. Gathering the facts, you can schedule a discussion with management about the problem.

Make sure to outline the specific issues and take notes with examples. Then, put some distance between yourself and the difficult person, and focus on your work.

Avoid Personalizing the Person’s Behavior.

The best way to deal with difficult people at work is to avoid personalizing their behaviors. These people blame others for their errors and express their anger in destructive ways. Their behavior is often unprofessional, creating turmoil and stress for others around them.

As a result, dealing with such people requires diplomatic skills and awareness of your emotional triggers.

First, try to understand what the other person is trying to say. Then, try to understand their motives. This can help you reach a satisfactory solution. You may also want to share the situation with someone the other party trusts.

If the difficult behavior is ongoing and affects other people at work, it is best to involve your boss. A good boss will bring the person involved with the manager or supervisor to discuss the problem.

They may even rally other employees to help with the problem. This can effectively convince your boss that the problem affects the whole organization, but it is important to be careful not to make the situation look like a gang-up.

Address Underlying Issues

The primary step in dealing with difficult people at work is identifying the underlying issues causing them to be difficult. Often, these people are under a lot of stress in their personal lives, which shows in their work behavior.

First, you should understand why they are acting this way, and if possible, try to find ways to resolve the issues.

Once you know the underlying issue causing the difficult behavior, the next step is to approach the employee in a non-confrontational manner. This is critical because battle lines are often drawn before underlying issues are fully understood.

Sometimes the difficult person needs to air their problems. This may mean taking an afternoon off work and having a conversation.

If that’s not possible, try letting them talk to someone else about their problems. It may improve the overall situation, even if it’s only a one-on-one conversation.

Develop a Relationship with a Complainer

In a leadership role, you may face employees or colleagues complaining about their work. This is not something you want to ignore.

Chronic complainers can have negative effects on the business culture and general mood. The first step to improving communication with these people is understanding what is bothering them.

Many employees feel ignored and frustrated when they do not get what they want from their jobs. By being supportive and encouraging, you will help the complainer to feel valued and heard.

You can also provide them with positive feedback from coworkers and clients. This may encourage them to change their perspective, positively affecting the work environment and overall productivity.

Complainers are more likely to focus on the negative aspects of a situation. Their focus is often on their complaints, peeves, and annoyances, and they are quick to shoot down any new ideas or attempts to be positive.

Complainers will often accuse an optimist of being a Pollyanna. Chronic complainers often form close, internal relationships based on their negative experiences. It is difficult to shift from a negative mindset to a more positive one.

Approach Difficult People with Empathy

Approaching difficult people at work requires you to understand how they feel and their perspective on the situation.

While these conversations can be frustrating and difficult, empathy can help you find a peaceful resolution.

If you listen carefully and use your eyes and gut instincts to understand the other person, you will be able to understand what they are feeling and what they need to change.

One thing you can do to show empathy is to ask the person you’re talking to about their experience. When listening to their story, you can also provide nonverbal encouragement and ask them how they feel. You can also offer to help them out if necessary.

You may be surprised to learn that the person you’re speaking with is struggling to get enough sleep. They may be experiencing the stress of a divorce or struggling with a newborn.

Taking an active role in understanding their feelings and needs will go a long way in making a lasting impression.

Remember that these people have personal lives outside of work. If they’re particularly difficult to get along with, their home life is likely causing them stress.

While responding to their provocations is tempting, the best approach is to avoid reacting to their actions. Instead, ensure you show your concern and are open to compromise with them.

Empathy is a valuable skill to learn in the workplace. Empathy can help you connect better with others and create healthy relationships.

If you know how to be empathetic, you will be able to solve problems more effectively. By using empathy in your work, you can create a more respectful and productive work environment.

Avoid the Constant Critic

Often, difficult people tend to shift the blame onto other people. They may make others feel incompetent or question their worth.

Instead of reacting to the constant criticism, try to understand what they’re saying and how you can better help them.

If a difficult coworker acts up at work, try communicating with them one-on-one. Explain to them what you’re working on and how they contribute to the project.

Make sure they know you need their input on certain project parts to do your job. It can affect the whole project if they don’t help you finish a certain work section.

If you’re dealing with a difficult coworker, it might be time to talk to your manager. Explain the situation to them as rationally as possible and let them decide how to proceed.

Try not to let your anger over your coworker interfere with your work. Make sure to communicate with your team members and prioritize your tasks. Remember that difficult people also have lives outside of the workplace.

Moreover, they may be suffering from stress at home. This can make dealing with them difficult. Approach them with empathy and see how they’re struggling with their issues.


Dealing with difficult people at work is a challenging task. Attempting to ignore the problem will only worsen things.

You’ll likely end up resentful, angry, and miserable by ignoring the issue. Addressing underlying issues will help you resolve your problems and move forward.

While complaining is a natural outlet for frustration, it does not have to be a source of anxiety for you. Sometimes, you must listen to someone constantly complain about the same things. Sometimes, you need to disagree with them, but you can also build a good relationship with them.

2 thoughts on “7 Amazing Tips for Dealing With Difficult People at Work”

  1. Thank you for sharing 7 Amazing Tips for Dealing With Difficult People at Work!

    This is so important because we ALL deal with difficult people, especially at work.

    I think being able to empathize with people is the biggest trait because you understand that everyone is going through their own troubles and struggles!

    If you can handle hard situations in a non confrontational way, that will help a lot!

    1. Lorenz, you’re absolutely right. It is always important  that we avoid being judgmental, instead be empathic, because we never know what another person is going through. 

      Thanks for your great comment. 

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