7 Easy Tips on Communicating with Difficult People

in #business3 years ago

Like it or not, there will be a few people (lucky for you it’s not more!) at work that you find it hard to work with. Some may already have a notorious reputation in the office - the boss' daughter, the power-hungry CEO, the master manipulator - or it could be just towards you. Sad is the case if yours is the latter. :)

But it’s time to stop complaining and start exploring how you can overcome the problem.

Why bother? Well, you and I know no matter how difficult the person is, you still need to work with them. Sure, you can avoid them altogether, but let’s take it as a challenge first before throwing in the towel, shall we?

TIP 1: Validate them

Sometimes people just want to be seen, heard or acknowledged. Ok, you can say they are craving for attention, or they have a chip on their shoulder, but most of the time, it's not that serious. Approach them with a positive outlook, bring them a little thoughtful gift and have a conversation with them. And remember: Don’t judge them!

There is this Triple A rule that I find true over time, generations, culture and background, and that's Attention, Acknowledgement and Affirmation. It's pretty much human nature to "naturally" want those As (you gotta admit that you sometimes crave for that too), and part of validating the difficult person is by giving them these three!

TIP 2: Use “open” gestures

When talking to them, avoid crossed arms or legs, or giving them “the hand/palm”. This sends a message that you're tensed or closed-off when you're with them, even though you may not mean it.

Here's the thing about body language: don't take the gestures of others too seriously, but be mindful of the potential meanings of your gestures.

Conversely, you can maintain an open body gesture, such as opened arms, leaning in, tilting your head slightly and nodding here and there throughout the conversation. This suggests to the other party that you're "open" to them, and keen to know more about what they have to say.

TIP 3: Find out who works well with them

It’s quite impossible for the difficult person to have zero friends at work. It's very hard to work in a silo in any company, because like it or not, team work always beat the effort of one.

None of us is as smart as all of us. - Ken Blanchard

Research a little and find out who are their friends and notice what techniques are used to work with them. Sometimes it could be colleagues from other departments, or even outside the business too!

Become an investigator and you may be thrilled with your discoveries.

TIP 4: Observe their routines, habits, choice of words

No, I'm defiantly not asking you to be a stalker! Instead, casually just observe the little things they do. It could be a breakfast that they always bring to the office, a certain type of stationery they use, words that are repeatedly used in a conversation and more. Those are like the keys to unlock their personality secrets, and allow you to leverage on that to build a better relationship.

In the case of the stationery, maybe gift it to them whenever there is a chance. Say something like "I noticed you like this brand of pencils, and I happened to know one of the suppliers, so I thought I'll get some for you. Let me know if you want to get them cheaper than the market."

Be subtle, though. Like I said earlier, don't give them the idea that you're stalking them or trying to suck up to them.

TIP 5: Have a private talk with them in non-confrontational setting

My mom always said that honesty is the best approach, and sometimes, it could what the difficult person needs.

Secretly, he or she could be waiting for someone to approach them, and that’s your chance. Of course don’t confront them straight on or get your colleagues to gang-up against them. A cornered person will just become defensive, and that's not gonna help improve the situation at all.

Instead, start by “Hi Michelle. We’ve been working together for the past months and can I take a few minutes of your time to discuss how we can work better?"

Asking permission and giving them space may encourage them to open up.

TIP 6: Think in their shoes

Putting yourself in their shoes allows you to somewhat experience what goes through their mind and their hearts. This is another way to validate them (step 1).

Could it be the pressure of the position they are in?

Is it something that I've said that she personally finds distasteful?

There's this story I heard of Rose, who had always been a good employee to her boss, Lily. But of late, Rose realised that Lily was exceptionally hard on her, and the relationship strained. At one point, Rose couldn't take it anymore and wanted to tender her resignation, thinking that Lily has a personal issue against her and did not want to resolve it.

It was then that Lily revealed she will be transferred over to a new branch in a few weeks, and her replacement was known to be difficult. As it turned out, the change of attitude was because Lily wanted to train Rose up to be ready for the harder times to come, and had her interest in mind all the while. Sure, Lily could have chosen a better way to inform Rose, but the truth was, she was also sad to leave her position.

People are only as resourceful as the states they are in.

TIP 7: Take it easy

Has it ever occurred to you that maybe because you're tensed, you're causing the other party to be tensed too?! Just take a breather, eliminate the nervousness, and calm those anxieties. Emotions are contagious, and who knows, by doing so, you are effecting them as well.

It may sound wishy washy, but seriously, try it.

Handling the ‘tough nuts’ in the office does not alway need to be difficult. All it takes is a good attitude and some "moves" up your sleeves, like the seven mentioned above.

And really, sometimes you can put in all the effort, but the difficult person may still choose to be difficult. Well, at least you've tried, and I'm always reminded of what John Maxwell told me about the Bob Principle,

When Bob has a problem with everybody, Bob is usually the problem.

It's your turn now. Any tips up your sleeves when it comes to working with difficult people?

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@maverickfoo Wouldn't it be nice if we just didnt have to deal with them? I love crypto if you want to know more give me a follow.

These are great tips for communication. We don't have to like our colleagues but we do need to work with them. Communication is one step to a closer working relationship with them.

Hi! Yes, totally agree. Unless you work in a tollbooth, it's gonna be hard avoiding working with people. :)

Great article.. I think deep down most of us just want to bring the best we have to work and this really helps communication flow faster!

Thanks for the article!!

Glad you enjoyed it! Communication is such a key activity, and mastering it will determine your level of success. Other competencies aside, being able to communicate and relate with people is a true commodity.

I can tell you that there are some people that only need serious deliverance before you can get along with them.lol

Totally! Patience is a virtue...

Great tips, especially when I communicate with challenging clients.

Although I would say you can't complain much about th one paying the bills, hehe. Have a nice weekend.

It's beautiful post dear and thanks for sharing .
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Right information at the right time for me. Thank you!

Having a b!tch or d!ck in your life now? Haha.

Good post, i can know the tips how to communicate with other users now, if you have a time please visit my blog

useful tips even nowadays we see that nearly all people chose to ignore difficult people as an easy solution

If we can ignore it would be good. This is for the times we can't ignore. Dang!

Good advice Mav! I'll remember your tips before I decide to kick these annoying people! Hahaha

Kick? Really? Haha. Have a great week ahead, yo!

i think mostly everyone facing this..even myself. what makes it more difficult when that person is your own boss..damn I can feel it...

Ah... the boss...and it's monday today... Have a great week though :)

Wow! nice post.. Thanks for giving the news.. I like your post very much.. Keep it up.. Stay blessed be happy.. Thank you..

Do you like CATS!

Can you learn calculus for me?

Important tips people
Differ in terms of culture and principles. Each person is different from the other
Thank you for posting as usual with your themes

Much of what you have written here is taught to sales people as body language and rapport building. Nicely written mate!

Oh yes. I've always admired sales people, partly because I suck at selling, but also the mental fortitude they have and the bag of skills the employ. The good sales people are those who uses lots of psychological and emotional methods to get the value across to the prospect, and the truly great ones are so talented in relationship building, that clients would just come back to them again and again! Amazing!

Well, sometimes you get stuck working with a tough nut who is pain in the neck. Just be polite, and avoid such people.

True. Beats going up against them head-on.

Tip 8: Slap them and yell that "Gangsta Rap Made Me Do It"

Muahahahaha! Totally!

Great stuff. I think your best tip is #6...think in their shoes. You never know what a person is dealing in their life.

Totally agree. Like it or not, it's not easy to separate personal challenges from work. It's bound to show.

I had not thought much about the body language, but it makes sense that crossing your arms and never moving your head can send a "I don't care what you have to say" signal. Will try to be aware of this. I think we can all benefit from observing our selves and how we communicate with others. We may be doing stuff like this without realizing it. Great post!

Oh yes, totally. And usually unless you have a good partner to provide honest feedback, there could be certain habits you'll never know you have that's affecting your ability to connect with people. :)

It is unfortunate that a lot of work spaces tend to be led by inefficient, weak and unskilled managers who play into the needs of people who need affirmation, etc. This type of manager is most likely in desperate need to strike alliances because she has very little of value to offer the company herself. The efficient people who are integral to the companies success can usually stay out of the interpersonal banter and stick to their jobs and they tend to progress very well from day to day and year to year.

Everyone just get on with the job - talk only if it relates to the job at hand. Needs for affirmation and acknowledgement should be handled in psychotherapy and such people ought to find their way out of the company instead of being molly coddled at the expense of the company. If it's your job to molly coddle, guess what 'you're name is probably Bob' and you probably have nothing much to offer the company either ;-)

Hi @oneazania. Thanks for taking your time to comment. Yup, because of inefficient managers, the employees will eventually turn into emotionless, connectionless drones. True, the team gets the job done, but I guess job satisfaction and culture is off the menu. :)

BTW, it's so cool that you have two separate Steemit profiles to categorise the different aspects of your life and thoughts. :)

Just read though this and I find it helpful.reading through I was able to see a clear character of some persons i ve worked with and some i had some fall out with.soem people are sometimes difficult due to stress from family or even relationship with partners and spouse.some are psychologically or emotionally unstable .this could even be applied to our relationships not just work environment.thanks for sharing @maverickfoo

Thanks @raymondsvictor! Glad that you found the info useful. :)

glad you wrote this definitely helpful!

Good post. Thank you

This post came to me just at the right timing, thank you!

nice post
nice information
I actually have a colleague that Is very loud
I just obtained knowledge on how to cope with Her

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For some reason, your post reminds me of this video.

Great sharing, Mav. I really love the way you present the thinking and solution for such simple problems, but it is indeed very helpful.

its a great idea for sharing us your tip

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Great input, thank you for sharing

lets do this damn !

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