How to Deal with Difficult People
September 12, 2018
In a busy hospital environment, the last thing you need is a team member, supervisor, doctor, etc. with whom you cannot get along. Learn how to deal with difficult people and make your daily life a little bit easier.
When you’re spending anywhere from eight hours or more with your co-workers, these people will have a significant impact on your daily life.
This means that you need to understand how to deal with difficult stress from different individuals in your professional healthcare career.
You’ll experience stress from your co-workers, your patients, and things from your personal life. All of these things add up over time and will affect how you go about your day.
This means that in order to reduce the amount of stress builds up, you need to understand how to manage it. One of the biggest stressors you might experience is from difficult people.
Knowing how to interact with and deal with difficult people will help make your life a little bit easier, so that you can focus on the things that matter the most – caring for your patients and ensuring everyone has a pleasant experience.
Stressful work relationships not only cause drama in the workplace, but also outside of the hospital. Nurses, in particular, don’t want a quarrel or miscommunication with coworkers to hinder them from taking care of patients.
In addition, the last thing a patient wants to see is any quarrel that the healthcare staff or hospital staff is experiencing.
One of the most important things regarding patient care is whether or not they feel comfortable, and one critical aspect of feeling comfortable is the demeanor and interaction between the hospital or healthcare staff that is taking care of them.
If a patient or family member of that patient sees the staff arguing or quarreling with one another, then their stress will rise and they will be concerned about the level of care they are receiving.
All of these things add up over time, and to ensure a pleasant experience for the patient then you need to understand how to deal with a difficult person which might be your coworker at any given moment.
When mixing different generations, backgrounds, cultures, educations, professional experiences, and personalities in the workplace, disagreements can occur.
Disagreements happen naturally, so the odds of eliminating them will be incredibly rare. This means you need to figure out how to deal with difficult people and disagreements easily instead of shying away from them at every twist and turn.
It’s important to know what to do when this happens and how to properly deal with workplace disputes.
We have put together a list of useful tips and tricks that you can use to ensure that you reduce the stress you experience as a hospital or healthcare professional by effectively dealing with difficult people.
To create a work environment that is based on open communication and respect, follow these effective tips and tricks on how to maintain strong work relationships and deal with difficult people:
How to Deal with Difficult People:
The first step in how to deal with difficult people, is to respect others. Respect will get you far – in life and in the workplace.
Without respect for your colleagues, there won’t be good communication or strong work relationships.
It is important to remember and understand that all people are different, and they will have different thoughts, ideas, and opinions.
Even if you disagree, treat them with respect, and you will often find that the respect will be reciprocated. Often times disputes can be resolved with a mutual respect for one another and an openness to share discrepancies.
When you respect the other individual who might be causing some difficulties, you can also empathize with some of the things that they might be going through and understanding their perspective can become a little bit easier.
When you understand their perspective by respecting them and their beliefs, stance, or opinion on something – you can settle any dispute you two might be having or quell one before it even occurs.
One great way of dealing with difficult people is through mitigation before something even happens – and it all starts with respect.
2. Stay Positive
No matter what happens in life, the one thing you can control is your attitude.
Having a great attitude is important for any workplace atmosphere. Your attitude will rub off on others, whether you think it will or not.
If you show up to work, day in and day out, with a positive, upbeat attitude, not only will you perform better, but colleagues will be more open and genial.
Ultimately, you attitude can rub off on others and create a positive influence around the office.
One unique thing about maintaining a positive attitude is that you can subconsciously influence the demeanor and attitude of those around you by your positive attitude.
If your colleagues take not of how positive you are throughout the day, then you can influence them without even knowing it.
Another critical component of dealing with difficult people by staying positive is that it’s important to remember that everyone is going through something at any given time, which might be why they are being difficult.
When we are dealing with difficult people, we can sometimes feel like the problems are directed at us, but in many cases individuals who are dealing with stress or difficulty will take that stress out on those they are closest to.
This means that it is critical for you to keep a positive attitude at all times, to ensure that you don’t feel as if the difficult person is taking it out on you – they just need to vent.
3. Avoid Gossip
This should go without saying; however, it still happens. Avoid gossiping at all costs is critical to dealing with difficult people or a difficult individual.
You may think that gossiping with your work friends is harmless, but there are dire consequences. Not only will it alienate you among other coworkers, but it can also make you look bad.
When you gossip, you are seen as someone who constantly stirs the pot, and people will feel hesitant of really connecting with you or sharing their personal lives with you due to the fact that you might talk about it with others and criticize it at a later moment.
Whether you actually do doesn’t really matter, but you don’t want to seem as if the person who is constantly looking for something to critique for each of your coworkers.
In addition, more times than not it will come back around and the person you gossip about will find out.
When the other person inevitably finds out, you will only escalate the tensions between you and the difficulties arise in the professional relationship.
If you are having a conflict with a coworker, go to them directly. Talk it out between the two of you.
Gossiping to others about a problem is just bad taste. Plus, it demonstrates respect for the person and will get you further in work relationships.
4. Participate in Company Outings
If your company has outings or parties, you shouldn’t automatically avoid them. This is a chance to get to know your workmates outside of the hospital and show them your enthusiasm about team bonding.
You might find that a person you don’t like in the workplace is actually cool once you get in a low-stress, relaxed atmosphere. Getting to know the people you work with goes far and might resolve superficial problems you thought you had with them.
In addition, you might learn some key insight into how they deal with stress in their own time. For instance you might realize that they are truly struggling with something at work, and going to the company outing will provide some key insight as to why they are struggling with that particular aspect.
Avoiding a get-together could also put you in a bad light.
Unless you have a legitimate reason for not going, show up and strive to spend at least an hour or two among your colleagues. Being the guy or gal who never mingles with your co-workers could make you come off as anti-social and snobby depending on your reasons and relationship with your workmates.
If you are perceived as a snobby individual amongst your co-workers, getting along with difficult people you encounter will become increasingly difficult. You don’t want to be the issue that is arising between your coworkers.
5. Resolve Conflicts
When dealing with a negative conflict, make sure to try your hardest to resolve it early. Letting it develop will only make it worse, and may allow room for gossiping coworkers to affect the outcome.
Go to the person directly and talk to them on a mutually convenient time. This will ensure that you can both resolve any difficult matters that you are currently experiencing – and you won’t be inconveniencing them with your spontaneous meetup to resolve some tensions or difficulties that you might be experiencing between your coworkers.
Don’t be selfish with only your issues; remember, they have things they need to accomplish and perhaps have issues as well. Create a relaxed, open environment, perhaps on lunch break, so both parties can share their needs and reach an understanding.
Remember not to get heated or raise your voice.
Be the one to keep cool even if they are not and it will boost your reputation in the office. If you are the one to lose your temper, people will avoid speaking with you about issues and it will hurt your rapport.
Once again it’s important to remember that you don’t want to be seen as the difficult person in the professional relationship.
One great way of resolving conflicts with difficult people is by respecting their opinion and letting them share their side of the conflict. A discussion is between two people, not just you talking at someone.
As we’ve already covered respect earlier in our tips on how to deal with difficult people, you can increasingly see the important aspect of respect in dealing with difficult individuals.
6. Help Each Other
Be a positive influence in the workplace by helping others both in your professional life and personal life. If you follow the last five tips, then you should always be willing to lend a hand. If you notice a coworker having a hard time, go help them out!
Your supervisors will appreciate you taking time out to explain or show your colleagues something, and it will help maintain a strong relationship with your teammates.
When people like you and see you as a positive force in the office, they will be less likely to harbor ill-will towards you and most will avoid conflict with you because there will be no reason to dispute.
It’s hard to hate someone or be difficult with them when that individual is always so willing to help, so make it hard for people to hate you.
There are plenty of opportunities to find ways to help your coworkers and personal family and friends on your own time.
Listen to some of their key interests, find out what they are passionate about, what they are currently dealing with, and find ways for you to connect with them and help them out a little bit more.
It’s important to remember that a little bit of help goes a long way in reducing some of the tensions and difficulties you might be experiencing with your coworkers and personal family and friends.
7. Practice Responsible Social Media Updates
Social media can work against you and let tons of people see either the good side of you or the bad. In addition, social media might cause some tensions to arise between those who follow your social media or see something you post.
When someone takes offense at something you believe in or post on social media, some people will feel obligated to share their own counter-opinion and cause some difficulties in your social media realm.
The silver lining is, you get to decide what people see, so be responsible and post positive updates and shy away from controversy. Individuals who like stirring the pot and causing issues are always looking for a little bit of controversy.
These difficult people will find anything to nitpick, due to the fact that they enjoy causing tension and starting arguments. The best way to avoid and deal with these difficult people is avoiding what excites them.
You can build your network and keep up with co-workers, so you can build a rapport without you intentionally trying–as long as they see you as a respectable, good person on something as personal as a social media profile.
Some of the controversial topics you should avoid is gossip and spreading hurtful things. Try not to get caught up in political controversies and high-conflict issues.
While at times it can be touted as a private network or platform, you need to remember that it is a public forum, so keep private things off it.
It’s always good to avoid talking about politics, money, partying – whatever can alienate people or paint you in a bad light.
Don’t be rude if you do talk about your views, because ultimately, it’s your profile and you can talk about what is important to you – just remember that there are other opinions and to respect your friends and their opinions.
8. Do Your Job
While helping a workmate when they need it will surely put you in their good graces, not completing your own tasks is a quick way to get on their bad side. One of the best ways to deal with difficult people is to simply focus on what you can control – and that is your job.
Focus on your positive work attitude, your diligent work ethic, and the responsibilities of your professional hospital or healthcare career.
Never leave your job undone or for someone else to pick up. This is just unacceptable work behavior. If you feel you can’t complete a task, ask for help. someone surely will be willing to lend a hand.
Before you ask for help though, ensure that you won’t be interrupting them during an important task or will be inconveniencing at a time when they need to focus. This will only stress them out, and then you’ll have to deal with the difficult attitude they share later on.
It’s important to to remember that you are there to do one thing as a hospital and healthcare professional and that’s to work and provide the most efficient care to your patients or coworkers as possible – so do your job.
Sometimes, the best policy is to keep your head down, complete your tasks and leave work at work. While being charismatic is great and can get you far in the workplace, you don’t have to play politics and can simply be genial and get your work done.
Don’t overcomplicate things. It’s important to remember that one of the best ways to deal with difficult people is to focus on what you can control and do your job.
9. Be on Time
One way to continue to focus on what you can control in the workplace and avoid causing stress or causing tensions for difficult people is by focusing on being on time.
You should always be on time, if not early, to work.
This helps ease shift change and productivity. It also shows your coworkers you are dependable and serious about the wellbeing of everyone else.
If you are in a position where the shift before or after you depends on your timeliness, it’s super important that you show them respect and stick to the schedule.
Like anything else yes, things happen and sometimes you will be late, but keep an open dialogue about it and be sincere in your apologies and willingness to help them solve any issues your tardiness might have created. We are human.
Don’t get on their bad side just because you can’t get to work. Being late should be the exception, not the rule.
The quickest way to get on a teammate’s bad side is to have them stay late just because you couldn’t show up to work on time.
Arriving early and on time shows that you respect your coworker’s time and demonstrates that you can abide by the rules.
In contrast, when you are a consistent individual who shows up on time your coworkers will notice that and also feel obligated to show up on time more often if they are consistently late.
If you can be a helpful example as to how a star employee behaves and operates, then the difficult individuals who slack off or show up late will be encouraged to show up a little bit sooner.
10. Be Generous with Your Praise
Another useful tip for dealing with difficult people is to be generous with your praise. Be sure to compliment people and tell them when they do a good job.
People love to hear when they do good and psychology shows that people will do a better job, and perhaps go beyond the call of duty, when they are praised and feel good about their work.
When you praise people, don’t be empty and throw compliments out, be sincere and compliment them for something they have actually done.
It’s better to give one big, sincere compliment, rather than throwing them out all day everyday.
People will respond positively when they feel that the praise is earned and genuine. A good side effect of praising people is you will probably get praise in return. Making people feel good, makes you feel good, and they will probably be more apt to make other feel good too.
If someone is having a difficult day, and they hear some positive remarks about them, their work ethic, or their appearance, they will certainly perk up for the rest of the day.
With one little compliment you can easily turn around someone’s nasty day into a positive day. This means that they no longer have a grudge on their shoulders, carry themselves a little bit better, and will make your life a little bit easier.
One simple compliment will make dealing with that difficult person a little bit easier.
11. Remain Calm
Another tip for dealing with difficult people is that you need to remain calm. As we’ve briefly touched upon earlier, sometimes difficult people just need time to vent over some of their stressful situations, or some of their work stress.
When someone is being difficult with you or they snap at you, it can be quite easy for you to get a bit aggravated and respond with anger.
This means that you need to take extra care and do your best to remain calm. When you get frustrated and respond quickly due to their rude comment or rude behavior, you can only escalate the situation.
When you escalate the situation, the chances of you dealing effectively with someone who is being difficult will decrease substantially.
When you remain calm, you can effectively defuse situations with difficult people.
One great way of ensuring that you remain calm when dealing with a difficult person is to monitor your breathing. If you feel like you’re getting agitated or upset, take the time to take a deep breath and slow your breathing down.
This will help slow your heart rate and give you a few moments to think before you respond – in this way you can make sure that you respond appropriately and calmly.
12. Trust Your Instincts
One of the best tips on how to deal with difficult people is to trust your instincts. If you feel like a situation is escalating out of your control, or that you feel it is not going down the direction you want it to, then realize that you need to take a step back and reassess.
Trusting in your gut is a useful technique when determining whether or not you should respond, and how you should respond.
In addition, trusting in your gut will help you if you’ve ever been in a similar situation. Experience is one of the best teachers available, and if you’ve been in a similar situation dealing with a difficult person in the past then your gut will help you remember how you should behave and respond in that situation.
13. Relieve Some Of Your Stress
Another effective tip on how to deal with difficult people is to relieve some of the stress that you might be under. As we previously mentioned, all of the stress we receive in our daily life and our professional life add up.
When the stress adds up, our ability to deal with difficult people will be reduced. This means that you need to find ways to relieve some of the stress you might be experiencing.
To mitigate some of the additional stress that you’re under. So that it doesn’t bleed over into your professional life and affect your decision making skills or how you deal with difficult people.
Some great ways of relieving stress in both your professional life are focusing on things that make you happy outside of work.
Most people tend to bring their work home unintentionally, and they don’t realize it. We all do it.
For instance, you might be having trouble sleeping due to the fact that you’re too worried about what happened during that hospital shift, or what is going to happen tomorrow on the upcoming shift.
Thinking this way can build up over time and lead to feeling burned out during our job as well. Then we think about how we have a difficult coworker or a difficult patient to interact with, and it continues to pile up.
You can avoid these feelings with a simple trick.
Instead, focus on doing things you enjoy outside of work so that all your worries fade away and you relieve some of the stress you’re experiencing.
Learning how to deal with difficult people can be stressful, but the best practice is to be a positive person yourself and avoid creating conflict.
Respect your co-workers, have a positive attitude, and be willing to lend a hand and praise others.
Make it difficult for people to hate you and it will decrease workplace drama.
If you create an open and respectful atmosphere, and people feel comfortable around you and friendly towards you, then people will probably stop being difficult towards you and become more amiable.
If your co-workers are still difficult after all these steps, just know that some people will never change and it shouldn’t stop you from having a positive attitude and doing the job you are there to do.
(Article / Content Updated 2018)