How to Deal With Difficult People in Your Workplace


How does one affect difficult, irrational, or abusive people, especially those in positions of authority who have a point of control over your life?

I’ve never met a completely rational person . Our ability to store and process information is way too imperfect for that. But our emotions are a shortcut. The book Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman describes people diagnosed with alexathemia, the condition whereby people either do not feel emotions or are completely out of touch with their emotions. You’d think such people would be hyper-rational, but they are not they can not even function in society. they need no emotional context for deciding what’s important to them, so earning a dime is simply as important as earning 1,000,000 dollars. They’ll spend hours on tasks others would consider trivialities, like deciding what time to schedule a dentist appointment. Our emotions are a logical shortcut — we “feel” the difference between the relevant and therefore the irrelevant.

On to handling difficult or irrational people…

I certainly haven’t been sheltered from such people, albeit I’ve only been an “employee” for a complete of six months of my life once I was in college. They’re everywhere! I’ve still had to affect irrational/abusive people in business deals, landlords, etc. But such people rarely get to me due to how I affect them on two levels:

1) There was a story about Buddha where a verbally abusive man came to ascertain him and starting hurling insults. But Buddha just sat there calmly. Finally the person asked Buddha why he did not answer the insults and abuse. Buddha replied, “If someone offers you a present , and you decline to simply accept it, to whom does the gift belong?” If someone is irrational, abusive, etc., you’ll mentally decline to simply accept “the gift.” Let that person keep their anger and insanity, and do not let it affect you. This takes practice, but there are many imagination techniques which will help. I usually visualize the anger as a red energy that bounces off me or passes through me and easily returns to the source. this is often a message to my subconscious to acknowledge that the anger belongs completely to the opposite person. So this part tackles the opposite person’s affect on my spirit . And it works alright . I never lose my cool unless I’m doing it intentionally for a few specific reason. Sometimes it’s better to reply to an angry person with some shouting of your own then slowly bring them backtrack . I also mentally acknowledge that it’s probably a scarcity of affection and happiness in their life that causes them to behave as they are doing .

2) Now that you’ve got gotten your emotions handled, you continue to need to affect the practicalities of this person and their affect on your life. Sometimes it’s enough to only manage your emotions, but other times that may not enough — you would like to require action to deal with things during this case i exploit my logic and intelligence to make a decision what to try to to counting on the specifics of things . It’s like playing a game of chess — if I do that , then how will this person react? Even with irrational and hurtful people, their behavior is usually predictable to a point if you recognize a touch about them. Human behavior is purposeful, but it are often hard to work out the opposite person’s intentions. Use what you are doing know to anticipate their responses to varied possible actions you would possibly take. Your information could also be imperect, but do the simplest you’ll consider it as an exercise in risk management. Here are some possible actions:

* Remove the person from your life. this is often a touch extreme, but sometimes it is the best choice . If your landlord is basically bad, consider moving. If your boss or coworkers are terrible, leave. a few years ago I once told a lover I could not still have him in my life because he was deeply into software piracy, and that i just didn’t want that sort of influence in my life.

* Confront the person about his/her behavior directly. Raise your standards for what you’re willing to simply accept in your life, and enforce them. This strategy is my personal favorite, but some people aren’t comfortable with it. The advantage of this approach is that you simply stop playing games, and you discover out exactly where you stand with the opposite person. this is often what I’d use if I had a difficult boss or coworker — i would just lay everything out on the table thereupon person, explain why certain things were not tolerable on behalf of me , and detail what I wanted to ascertain happen. Now the opposite person may decline your “demands,” on the other hand a minimum of you recognize where you stand and may decide supported that. Paint a line, and if the opposite person crosses it, you now know the abuse is willful.

* Use behavioral conditioning on the opposite person. i do know of a team that did this with their verbally abusive boss. They conditioned their boss to be encouraging and supportive. getting to their boss and confronting him just didn’t work, in order that they got together and figured out a behavioral conditioning strategy. They stopped reward his negative behavior and commenced rewarding his positive behavior. Whenever he was abusive, he would either be ignored, or his employee(s) would say, “Are you about to control me through verbal abuse?” they might constantly means to their boss when he was being abusive. But whenever he was the smallest amount bit encouraging, like if he said, “good work” or “thank you,” they’d point that out too and thank him for his kindness and encouragement. Withing a couple of weeks, this boss had completely rotated . I wrote a previous entry on behavioral conditioning techniques, so there are other ways to softly change another person. But this assumes you’ve got enough leverage on the person.

* Get leverage, and use that leverage to force action. this will be risky, but sometimes it is the best choice you would possibly got to see if you’ll get another person fired if they really are hurting productivity. In software companies it is not uncommon for a team to petition management to fireside a weak member that’s holding them back. i exploit this tons myself when handling difficult people in business in cases of willful misconduct. You contact everyone who does business thereupon person to allow them to know what’s happening. And if it is a large enough deal, through in local govt reps and members of the press too. you would possibly consider this because the whistleblower strategy.

* Let it go. Sometimes this is often the simplest option if someone injures you in how . Just let it go and advance .

There’s a deeper issue here too… Are the explanations you’re allowing this difficult person to stay in your life valid? for instance , if you create money a better priority than quality of life, then how are you able to complain once you get the previous but sacrifice the latter?

I think people often have a tough time making quality of life a high enough priority — we’re taught to only suck it up and tolerate it if we’ve a difficult boss (and then die of a attack or stroke). The just one occasion i used to be an employee, I didn’t particularly like my boss; he behaved sort of a jerk and didn’t seem too bright either. But I also figured that if i used to be a lifelong employee, i’d produce other bosses like this too, and it wouldn’t always be convenient to quit. So i made a decision to not be an employee. Then once I worked with retail game publishers, I encountered dishonesty and incompetence, and this was so common that I felt it might be hard to run that sort of business and not need to affect such people, so i made a decision to not work with those people either. once I switched to doing game development independently, I loved the people and really enjoyed it, so I cursed with that for years. I chose to not base my career around working with difficult people. And now that I’m stepping into speaking, I’m having an excellent time at that too, and that i get along great with the people, so I’m happy on this path too.

It seems that different sorts of careers attract different sorts of people, and a few industries seem to draw in more jerks than others. you do not need to add a slaughterhouse (which reportedly has the very best employee turnover for any quite job), but you do not need to add a tech sweathouse either. you would possibly think that handling a difficult boss may be a “have to,” but it is not you cannot control everything, but in most cases you’ve got enough control over your life to avoid having to affect such people. simply because everyone else around you tolerates an abusive boss doesn’t suggest you’ve got to.

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