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Handling Difficult Colleagues

Strategies for Handling Difficult Colleagues

In almost every decision-making group you take part in, you will probably run across someone who gets under your skin. To avoid being sidetracked, you need to know how to handle such people.

You can apply the following strategies:

  • show you are,
  • demonstrate patience, and
  • redirect the conflict.

Show you are listening

Ignoring a disruptive person only causes his anger and insensitivity to fester. You should show you are willing to hear him out and that you are interested in a peaceful resolution.

Try to assume a neutral stance. The last thing you want to do is appear aggressive or defensive this will intensify conflict rather than defuse it. Repeat the person’s — complaints to show you are taking him seriously. Use short phrases like You think I made a mistake? or I think I understand how you feel.

Demonstrate patience

You can do this by refusing to provoke the other person, trying to understand him or her, and sticking to the real issue at hand. No matter what the other person says, do not be drawn into conflict. Do not challenge him with references to his authority or attack his character. Remain calm, and you will eventually neutralize his outbursts.

If you understand why the person is being argumentative, try empathizing with him. This does not mean giving in; it means showing you understand how he came to his conclusions.

Disruptive people have often lost sight of the real issue. Guide their attention back to the heart of the matter. This enables you to refocus their thoughts on potential ways to resolve the conflict.

By showing aggressive people you are listening and you are being patient, you strip them of the motivation to turn your confrontation into a brawl. And you will gain credibility with your fellow team members as well.