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    Dealing with difficult team members in the workplace requires wisdom, tact, and diplomacy. The truth is this: One way or another, you’re going to run into difficult people in the workplace. Team members can often make you nervous, to provoke you in various ways. If you’re not careful when dealing with a difficult team member, it can escalate the conflict in the workplace.
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Keep in mind that a difficult team member can be a co-worker or an employee. Difficulty in the workplace per team member could take on several dimensions. For example, it could be that a co-worker is simply uncooperative, stubborn to the extreme, rarely showing up for the meeting as scheduled, or not taking responsibility when they are at fault, etc. No matter how much these difficult people bother you, it won’t change the fact that you will always run into them. Instead of trying to avoid or fight them, this article will show you 7 techniques for dealing with difficult people.
  • Be Calm 

When faced with an apparent difficult situation caused by a teammate, the best solution is to remain calm regardless of provocation. Most of the time, when faced with a difficult colleague who tries to keep going, angry frustration will only make the problem worse. It is recommended to remain calm so that you can be clear about the best way to handle the situation.
  • Understand The Person’s Intention

Sometimes trying to understand why a difficult person acted the way they did is another way to deal with the difficulties caused by them. Most of the time, people’s outbursts, defiance, and simple disobedience can be traced back to a past event.
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Try to identify the triggers of defiant displays. Identify the reasons for refusal to cooperate. Is the trigger directed attached to you or someone around you? 
  • Talk To A Third Party

In a workplace, this difficult person may be notorious for being difficult or not. Learn about other colleagues’ experiences of this difficult co-worker. It is possible that he is known for his attitudes or it is just a misunderstanding on your part.
  • Let The Person Know Your Intentions

There may be chances that both of you are misreading each other’s reactions due to miscommunication. What you had in mind was not what you carried out. There are chances that he/she may be responding to an action you took. It is very helpful for you to know why the person is being difficult with you and to communicate your intentions, which do not mean harm in any way.
  • Create Room For Communication & Socialization

Beyond being engrossed with your laptops, computers, and workplace messaging system, one of the reasons you experience difficult people is because you and your colleagues have lost the essence of human contact.
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Beyond office work, go out with them to dinner; go out for a drink and party if possible. Through this, you can build a connection with your seemingly difficult colleagues.
  • Respect Is Key

Respect is crucial when dealing with difficult people. The best way to deal with a difficult person is to respect them. When respect is given, respect can be earned from your angle. Treating people as if they are incompetent, incapable, and stupid can backfire.
  • Seek Intervention From Higher Authorities

When all seem to fail and the said person is proving too difficult to handle, you should report to your superiors who can any decisions if you’re innocent. Featured Image Source: Lean In
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This article was first published on 18th July 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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