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. They may already have a notorious reputation in the office, or it could be just towards you, but it’s time to stop complaining and start exploring how to overcome the problem.
Why bother? Well, you and I know no matter how difficult the person is, you 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?
1. Validate them
Sometimes people just want to be seen or 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!
2. Use “open” gestures
When talking to them, avoid crossed arms or legs, or giving them “the hand/palm”. You can, however, maintain an open body gesture, such as opened arms, leaning in, tilting your head slightly and nodding here and there throughout the conversation.
3. Find out who works well with them
It’s quite impossible for the difficult person to have zero friends at work. Research a little and find out who are their friends and notice what techniques are used. Become an investigator and you may be thrilled with your discoveries.
4. Observe their routines, habits, choice of words
No, not asking you to be a stalker! But 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.
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. 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?”
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).
Handling the ‘tough nuts’ in the office is not always tough. All it takes is a good attitude and some “moves” up your sleeves, like the six mentioned above.
If you want to go beyond the six though, and learn how you can:
- Communicate across to different personalities
- Make the office sniper (the person who’s always shooting down your ideas) into your best friend
- Diffuse tension by injecting humour at the right moment
- Structure your communication to avoid resistance
- and more!
… join us at our upcoming Power Communications workshop next week.