10 tips for Dealing with Difficult People at Work

10 tips for Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Business success is never about working alone. A great deal of it comes from your people skills, the contacts that you’ve made and the ones you’re making right now. Hostile environment will cost you productivity, time and money. That’s why it is so important to nurture the relationship between coworkers. However, it seems like finding common ground with some people is near to impossible. No matter how you approach them, they seem unresponsive. Don’t be desperate, you are not alone. In today’s article, we’re going to talk about how to deal with difficult people at work, and we will give you some tips on how to manage them successfully.

Did you know that coworkers can impact your job satisfaction?

Even though there’s an ongoing debate whether you should mix business and friendship, turns out that having friends at work can do wonders to your mental well-being. And that’s especially true for the ones who recently changed their job and looking to fit into a new environment.
That’s why managers have the responsible task of creating an environment that nurtures and encourages friendship among coworkers. That’s done in various ways like organising team buildings activities and encouraging informal chats during lunch hour.

Coworkers are a mighty people that have a tremendous impact on your stress levels

Some shocking stats come from the research WorkWorries.com did. Amazing 62% of participants told that coworkers cause them more stress than the bosses. And the poor relationship with your coworkers can create some drama at home too! A study by the Journal of Organizational Behavior came to the shocking results – employees who were upset by their rude colleague were transferring their stress into a home environment. And nobody wants that. So how to deal with difficult people at work?

Realise you’re not the only one

Difficult people can appear in any type of job – from sales job to teaching jobs. Some of them like to gossip too much; while the others use every opportunity they can to slack off their job. It can be quite frustrating having to deal with those kinds of people. However, it seems like this is something we cannot avoid. The first thing in learning how to deal with difficult people at work is to realise that you are not alone and that probably many, if not all, of working people, have to deal with their personal nemesis at work. It doesn’t actually solve the problem, but it kinda makes it easier to take when you know you’re not alone in your struggles.

Talk about it

How did you expect to solve the problem if you’re not talking about it? Maybe the annoying coworker is not even aware that his doings put you in unease. And they might change their behaviour if they knew. Have you already thought about it? So why didn’t you said something already? Or if they are aware that they’re doing something wrong, but they are continuing because you actually let them do it? Stand up for yourself and express your needs loud and clear. Try to have a nice and reasonable discussion and let the person know you will fight for your peace.

Be a bigger person

Sometimes people at work can be really mean and even downright rude. And the antidote for their behaviour is for you to be the complete opposite. Be kind and polite, and don’t fall into their traps. Maybe they will realise they’ve crossed the line and be ashamed of how they were acting.

Kill ‘em with kindness

A smile and an extra dose of kindness is the cure for difficult people at work. If you have a project to finish, but you’re expected to do it with that one coworker who’s moody all the time, try being friendly but not overly friendly. People tend to loosen up when they see someone approached them with a positive attitude so you might clear your path before you start doing something together.

Try to understand them

Difficult people may be difficult with a reason! Don’t judge before you’ve examined all the possibilities related to the difficult coworker. And you will do this in the best way if you try to put yourself in their shoes. Seeing things from another perspective can make things different, and it may make you change your way of dealing with such people. We tend to disagree with each other mainly when we fail to understand each other. So if you’re wondering how to deal with difficult coworkers, be sure to understand them.

Know who you are

Whatever happens and no matter how much your coworker is unnerving, don’t stoop to their level. Instead, try calming yourself down and focus on more important things. If you let someone drag you into the office drama, your productivity levels will drop, and engagement at work will slowly become a distant thought. Get your priorities straight and keep your cool when it comes to dealing with difficult people at work. If you have to, count to ten, or even till hundred but do not enter the someone else’s stupid hate game.

Talk with a boss

When it comes to this, we tend to have a split opinion. No, you don’t have to run to your boss for every problem that arises. However, when it comes to relationships at work, your boss should know if they become unbearable. Actually, it would be better to know what’s happening before it comes to unbearable level. So, if you think you’ve done everything to solve the difficult coworker problem, yet nothing seems to help talk to your boss. In the end, it’s the manager’s job to make a work environment a happy environment.

Or talk with a friend

Like with doctors, it’s always nice to hear a second opinion. Maybe you’ve exaggerated some problem, or actually, you’ve taken a wrong approach to the existing problem. That’s why you should share what’s happening and what are you feeling with your friends. They will tell you honestly if you’re exaggerating or not and will advise you on how to solve the problem. In the end, they are the ones who know you the best!

Minimise the interaction

This is mainly for the ones who don’t have to talk to their coworker nemesis daily. Try avoiding having too much contact with coworkers that annoy you the most. This way you will save your energy for the times when you’ll have to work closely with them. Delegate to the others as much as you can and hope the times when you will work with them closely will be short and in a distant future.

Listen less

Our brain is amazing, especially because it can adjust to changes quickly! It can even be trained to help us out surviving difficult people at work. If you’re annoyed by some colleague, try muting their voice in your head. Try as much to filter out what are they saying and pick up only the things that you need to know to finish the job perfectly. It can be done, trust us. Practice makes perfect.

Difficult people are everywhere


… and we need to learn how to deal with them efficiently. Take care of your health and make sure it’s not affected by the lousy energy these people are bringing. Stay positive and avoid to be annoyed by them. Sometimes, when it comes to dealing with difficult people, we cannot escape them. However, we can work how we react to their presence. That’s why to be sure to check out these ten tips for dealing with difficult people at work.