How to Work With Difficult People In A Workplace Or Organization

How to Work With Difficult People In A Workplace Or Organization

Ever faced someone who annoys you so much that you want to scream out loud and pull your hair out? You aren’t alone. Over the years, you may have faced your fair share of difficult people who don’t show up for meetings, who don’t finish their work timely or in a quality manner, who are position based and stick intensely to their views, and who refuse to collaborate.

Here are a few tips which I have found to work in dealing with difficult people.

Remain calm:

Losing your temper at the other person is not the way to proceed  in a collaborative manner. Resentment may elicit the person into action. However, if you are knowingly employing this as a tactic to move him/her, it’s wise to present a calm personality instead.

A person who’s calm is considered as being in control, focused and more respectable. Would you like to work with a person who’s substantially calm or a person who’s always on the edge? When the person you’re dealing with notices that you’re relaxed irrespective of whatever he/she’s doing, you’ll start getting their attention.

Understand the intentions of the person:

You need to assume that nobody is difficult for the sake of being difficult. Even when it may look like the person just wants to argue with you, there is likely some core reason that’s encouraging them to act in this way. Try to recognize the trigger of the person: What’s making him/her act in this way? What’s preventing him or her from collaborating with you? What can you do to fulfil his or her needs and sort out the situation?

Re-instill the human touch:

Try to rekindle the human touch by connecting with your co-workers on a personal level. Go outside with him or her for a break,  lunch or dinner. In our virtual world set up a time for socialization. Try to understand him or her as a person, and not as a colleague. Learn more about their family, their lives, and their interests.  This will go a long way towards building trust.

Concentrate on what action can be taken:

Concentrate on the action you can take to move forward with the situation. Stay positive, calm,  and focused on the problem. Be gentle on the people around you. Center yourself first so that you can concentrate on what actions might be appropriate. You need to be there to help and maintain an attitude that reflects this perspective. 

Try out these tips while working with difficult people in your organization and see how they work out for you.

About the author

Mike Gregory is a professional speaker, an author, and a mediator. You may contact Mike directly at and at (651) 633-5311. Mike has written 12 books (and co-authored two others) including his latest book, The Collaboration Effect: Overcoming Your Conflicts, and The Servant Manager, Business Valuations and the IRS, and Peaceful Resolutions that you may find helpful. [Michael Gregory, ASA, CVA, MBA, Qualified Mediator with the Minnesota Supreme Court]