5 Thoughtful Ways To Deal With Difficult Colleagues Rather Than Shouting At Them!

Posted: October 29, 2018

Difficult colleagues who undermine your work, pass snide remarks or bitch about you to the boss can suck up all your energy. Don’t let them own the space in your head!

Rita got upset. She was sitting alone in the corner of her office cafeteria.

Something was bothering her. She was on the verge of tears and fuming with anger. Blaming herself for being a coward and stupid.

It was not an issue of her expertise. Not the salary or company benefits.

In fact, Rita was a talented business executive. She promptly answers customer queries and offers them relevant advice.

But the rude behaviour of her jealous teammates was tearing her down. They undermined and criticised her quite often. One of Rita’s colleagues flattered her to her face while simultaneously telling lies to the boss about her.

Rita felt devastated. She couldn’t understand as to whom she could believe.

How can she deal with her obnoxious teammates?  How can she focus on her work without damaging her confidence?

Why you must learn to deal with difficult colleagues?

Difficult colleagues can take any ‘mean form’. They exist in every workplace. And you can never escape or hide from them.

Their rude behaviour, selfish motives, and unpredictable mood swings affect your working ability, workplace and self-worth miserably.

The more they treat you badly, the more you feel dejected and disgusted. You feel something is wrong with you. Self-doubt creeps into your mind.

Imagine you are targeted by your colleagues for your way of speaking. And it goes on daily at breaks or even during working hours. How will you feel? You feel awkward. You feel humiliated. And somewhere you started doubting your accent.

When you believe in critics without realising the truth, you develop stress, hatred, and anger. That provokes you to react mindlessly. And invite more suffering.

But when you have a strong inner belief system, you can effectively cope with toxic people without losing yourself.

Shall I show you how?

1. Raise Your Rent

Difficult people are icky, gloomy and pesky.

To cope with them you need to strengthen your emotional immune system.

Don’t let difficult people rent space in your head. Raise the rent and kick them out – Robert Tew

Difficult people like provoking your emotions and sucking you into their dramas.

Most of us go insane while dealing with their irrational actions and dramas. But smart people never fall into their traps. They remove themselves without reacting emotionally. They know they are not the reflection of their surroundings.

Instant replay over toxic people’s actions fuels the anger and continues the battle. Participating in their dramas creates annoyance. So before reacting, ask yourself:

“What I’ll gain out of this?”

“Do my reactions signal him/her how to push my buttons?”

“Do I want to be responsible for guilt, repentance, and damage of my reputation?”

Or “Do I want to feel better about myself?”

Asking questions disconnects you from your emotions. It makes your replay powerful and paralyses difficult people’s intentions soon. So, before giving them any reaction, repeat the above questions. And win the game.

2. Managing your emotions is the most powerful practice

Toxic people use different ways to drench your energy. They envy your good mood or success.

And when they get jealous, they show it by their stinky behaviour. They make you feel bad for your wins.

Imagine you complete the sales target for the month. And instead of congratulating you, if your colleague made a nasty remark about your success or shares your faults and how you don’t deserve for the reward. How would you feel?

Furious…. Right?

Now, turn your heavy thoughts around. Instead of reacting immediately, what if you say to yourself, “It means she thinks I am better than her, Great!”

Don’t you feel at ease?

Forcing yourself to take control of your emotions and think light-heartedly bring good outcomes. Look for making good choices, and expressing yourself in the best way.

3. Focus on your work (in a productive way)

Fighting and arguing with difficult people is a big loss of time and energy.

Isn’t it?

In his article, Travis Bradnerry, Author of Emotional Intelligence 2.0 cites recent research which shows that exposure to stimuli that cause strong negative emotions – the same kind of exposure you get when dealing with toxic people – it causes subjects’ brains to have a massive stress response.

To save yourself from emotional depletion, don’t pay attention to what they’re doing.

Instead, focus on your work. Set clear working goals each day. Like, “I am going to finish my to-do list for this project today.”

Stick with your goal. It will boost your productivity and keep your brain away from niggling thoughts. Plus it will show your boss your passion and conviction for your work.

Keeping yourself engage in any activity helps you to give your toxic co-worker’s real excuses too. Seeing you busy makes them less likely to approach and start a conversation with you.

So be smart. Throw yourself into work. And stay shielded from their toxicity.

4. Set your boundaries precisely

Being available to witness their negativity and crying sucks you dry. Here’s an example of joining their drama party:

A person who needs attention often exaggerates the situation, “You know I had such a bad morning? Boss was mad at me. He is going to sue me.”

And if you replay it like, “Ohh dear really? What did he say? Did he shout at you?” – The more you respond to their drama, the more they get fuelled.

Instead when you replay it like, “Talk with him once, he calms down. I’m sorry, but getting late for the meeting. Bye.”

Deciding when and how to respond to difficult people saves you from unnecessary chaos. So set your boundaries to remind them what is acceptable to you and what to expect from you.

Hazy boundaries aren’t effective. Be ultra-clear and straightforward with yourself. Communicate your boundaries with conviction. And don’t let guilt weigh you down.

5. Change perception and reality changes

Smart people never try to change the behaviour of their difficult colleagues. Rather, they change their perception towards them.

-Look at every interaction with difficult people as a learning experience –That will teach you a few traits that you haven’t mastered yet, but they’re essential to progress.

-Put your energy on how you’re going to handle the issues. Shift your focus to find solutions.

-Try to envision how the situation might be if you change the way to look at it.

-Be aware of your default thinking pattern and ask whether it’s working or letting you down.

Stop reacting as every ordinary person does! Don’t rely on your instincts (react and attack mechanism) to act wisely at challenging moments. It’s never going to happen.

Instead, start training your brain to follow conscious thoughts and actions. Over a period, it becomes your default thinking pattern.

It’s true that mastering these tips isn’t easy. They take a lot of energy, courage, and patience. Still…be committed to turning around your relationship with difficult people.

Because you deserve peace, happiness, and empowerment.

So next time, before interacting with difficult co-workers, take a pause, ask yourself mindful questions, subtract emotions and respond with dignity.

Image is a still from the movie The Devil Wears Prada

Mehera is an aspiring content writer who worked few years in SEO industry. Her passion

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