7 Ways to Manage Difficult Personalities At Work

By Jayalekshmi S

January 24, 2017   •   Fact checked by Dumb Little Man

Colleagues can either be constructive or disruptive!

The helpful ones make work much easier and the workplace a great place to look forward going to every day. But, handling the disruptive ones requires a lot of tact or else, they can make your already difficult work atmosphere even more difficult. With some tactful interference, you can either keep away or handle such difficult personalities at work.

Here are some tips to manage different personalities in the workplace:

Identify difficult co-workers

gossiping at work

The very first point of importance is to identify the difficult-to-handle co-workers.

They can come in all sizes and shapes. There are gossip machines, bossy teammates, blamers, victims and show-stealers in all organizations. The very first step involves identifying who’s who in the office.

Once you know the people who can create problems, the least you can do is to avoid their company as much as possible. It will not help you avoid the problems they create, but it will keep you away from them and you can better concentrate on your work and productivity. Out of sight, out of mind, so they say.

Have Patience

When you work in the same office, it is very difficult to avoid some people completely. They can provoke you into a fight and then scoot away easily when supervisors pop up. You will realize only later that the troublemaker who started it all has already escaped. So, don’t allow yourself to be provoked. Patience makes a great barrier against impending fights.

Evaluate the Situation

To help you avoid trouble at work, evaluate a sticky situation with a troublemaker officemate. See how it will affect your position in the office, how it will affect your relationship with your colleagues, and how it might affect all the achievements you’ve built up over the years. This way, you might be able to find a better way out of your situation that won’t mean getting into a fight with a difficult co-worker.

See Also: How to Deal with a Workplace Bully

Know who you are dealing with

As you evaluate the situation, you need to know the person whom you are dealing with too. Sometimes, troublemakers create issues just to gain some attention. Other times, it is for their professional gain.

Seniors can make your life hell at work just for the sake of playing the boss. If they have more connections in the office, it is best to avoid a confrontation as you will be the person who can be more affected because of it. If it is a teammate, evaluate his connections.

A colleague closer to the boss can invite more trouble than one who is not. It is hence important to know more about the troublemaker before you decide on a strategy to combat trouble.

No point discussing with colleagues

Discussing your issue with your colleagues will only make matters worse. If any of them spill the beans to the person involved, it can aggravate the issue. When there’s a gossiper in the group, anything you shared may be communicated in a totally negative aspect. More often than not, your colleagues will be hard put to offer a realistic solution so there’s no point discussing the matter with others.

Try talking truce

office truce

Once you have evaluated the situation and the person involved, you can try talking to the person involved to sort out your differences. If things can be settled amicably, that’s the best solution. Sometimes the issue might be because of a misunderstanding which can be sorted out by talking things over. One trial at discussing a truce will be a good option to try anyway.

Escalate when you cannot handle it

Finally, if things seem to be getting overboard, do not hesitate to escalate the matter to your boss. Make sure the communication is neutral and clear so that it is not used against you in any way. Take a peaceful stance while discussing with the boss or your superior and explain calmly all the steps you have taken including the confrontation. Also, make it clear that you are willing to give the other person another chance to change to be very fair. This way you are safe the next time some issue comes up.

See Also: Smart Ways to Navigate Office Politics and Emerge as a Winner

Jayalekshmi S

Jayalekshmi is a Junior Analyst at OfficeRock.com. She specializes in the field of email marketing. She is also passionate about music and reading.

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