Working with difficult people can cause you enormous stress and strain. So what do you about these people? Here is a very interesting question sent in by one of our members. Maria asks for more advice on difficult people in the workplace. So here is the question from Maria.
A QUESTION ON DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE AT WORK
In other material you have written about a variety of ways to remain calm and composed when handling difficult people. You talked about the idea of walking away from a difficult person who is communicating with you but you are becoming increasingly stressed and frustrated by them. Walking away as you suggested to calm down and reduce your stress. But in dealing with difficult people at work there is a person that every time I talk to this person I feel so angry and upset as they always interrupt me. I absolutely want to walk away as they make me so mad and agitated. But if I walk each time I try to speak with them then I'd probably never come back and speak to them. Can you suggest more ways for me on how to deal with difficult people like this person? What do I do about this distressing situation?
WALKING AWAY TO CALM DOWN BUT ADD MORE
This is a great question Maria. So here is another idea for you in dealing with difficult people at work such as this particular work colleague. You do still need to be determined to remain as calm as you can. You still need to walk away and give yourself some space when you feel like you are losing your composure. Remember, walking away and going for a quick walk or even just into the next room, is for your benefit to calm down and be able to think clearly. Then you can go back and communicate with this person again. If you do not take some time out, you will find it very hard to remain calm and effectively deal with this difficult person.
EXPLAINING WHY TO A VERY RUDE PERSON
However, instead of just turning around and walking away from this person when you feel your stress levels rising. Add this stress management and assertive communication strategy when using this walking away technique. Before you walk away for awhile you need to actually tell this frustrating person why you are walking away. Be sure to sound calm and use assertive communication in handling difficult people like this.
WHAT TO SAY AS YOU WALK AWAY FROM THEM
Very clearly and calmly explain to them why you are walking away. For instance, you can say "Ann, I feel extremely angry when you speak to me in this way. I am going to walk away from you now and when I return I would prefer that when I speak, you do not interrupt me and wait until I have finished speaking before speaking yourself".
COMMUNICATE AND REPEAT WITH SUCH PEOPLE
When you explain why you are walking away then it becomes very clear to this person how their behavior is upsetting you. You have explained this to them in a calm manner and have walked away to give you some space to settle down your emotions again. But do not expect this person to immediately change their behavior. This behavior is a communication pattern they have done so often for a long time. In dealing with difficult people at work like this person, you do have to be consistent and persistent. Be prepared to explain why and walk away often. In fact, be prepared to do this as often as needed until this person starts to change their communication pattern with you.
TELL THEM AGAIN AND AGAIN
So Maria, each time this person interrupts you when you are speaking to them, tell them again why you are feeling angry. Tell them again why you are walking away. Tell them again the behavior you would like to see from them when you return. Tell them clearly, concisely and calmly. Keep on telling them and being prepared to walk away until this person stops interrupting you whenever they speak with you.
THE MESSAGE WILL GET THROUGH TO THEM
This rude person will ultimately get the message and have to alter their behavior in some way. They will certainly get the message, that if they need to communicate with you they will have to stop interrupting you. Otherwise you will simply walk away and come back later to try to communicate again.
TRY THIS HANDLING DIFFICULT PEOPLE STRATEGY
Give this difficult people strategy a try and a chance to work. Be firm, be fair but be persistent. You will reduce your stress, remain calmer and become more assertive in dealing with difficult people at work.
So what are your thoughts on dealing with these difficult people? We have lots more great ideas to share with you. As a leading international expert in the field of dealing with people, I invite you to get a complimentary copy of our guide on Dealing with Difficult People: 17 Ideas on How to Deal with Difficult People from our website at http://www.nodifficultpeople.com We look forward to seeing you there from Dr Judy Esmond.