How to Deal with Difficult People

In Career Advice
October 27, 2015

How to Deal with Difficult People

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.

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.

However, when mixing different generations, cultures, and personalities in the workplace, disagreements can occur. It’s important to know what to do when this happens and how to properly deal with workplace disputes.

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:

How to Deal with Difficult People:

1. Respect 

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. 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.

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.

3. Avoid Gossip

This should go without saying; however, it still happens. Avoid gossiping at all costs. 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. More times than not, it will come back around and the person you gossip about will find out.

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.

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 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.

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. 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. Respect their opinion and let them share their side of the conflict. A discussion is between two people, not just you talking at someone.

6. Help Each Other 

Be a positive influence in the workplace. 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 who is always so willing to help, so make it hard for people to hate you.

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. The silver lining is, you get to decide what people see, so be responsible and post positive updates and shy away from controversy. 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.

Avoid gossip and spreading hurtful things. Try not to get caught up in political controversies and high-conflict issues. 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 their are other opinions and to respect your friends.

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. 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.

It’s important to to remember that you are there to do one thing, basically, and that’s to work– 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.

9. Be 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. 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.

10. 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.

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, 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.

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