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10 Tips for Dealing With Difficult People at Work

Dealing With Difficult Coworkers, Bosses, and Friends at Work


In every workplace, you will have difficult coworkers. Dealing with difficult coworkers, bosses, customers, clients, and friends is an art worth perfecting. Dealing with difficult situations at work is challenging, yet rewarding. You can increase your skill at dealing with the difficult people who surround you in your work world. These tips will help you.

1. Rise Above the Fray: Dealing With Difficult People at Work

stressed business man in meeting
David Lees/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Difficult people do exist at work. Difficult people come in every variety and no workplace is without them. How difficult a person is for you to deal with depends on your self-esteem, your self-confidence and your professional courage.

Dealing with difficult people is easier when the person is just generally obnoxious or when the behavior affects more than one person. Dealing with difficult people is much tougher when they are attacking you or undermining your professional contribution.

2. How to Deal With a Bully at Work

Dealing with difficult bullies at work.
Copyright Alina Solovyova-Vincent

Think you work with a bully? Do you regularly feel intimidated, dread to work anywhere near a particular coworker, or you’re yelled at, insulted, and put down? Does a coworker talk over you at meetings, criticize your performance, or steal credit for your work?

If you answer yes to these questions, chances are good that you’re one of 54 million Americans, who have been attacked by a bully at work. Learn about dealing with difficult people at work.

3. How to Deal With a Negative Coworker

Dealing with a difficult, negative coworker.
Copyright Getty Images / John Foxx

Some people exude negativity. They don’t like their jobs or they don’t like their company. Their bosses are always jerks and they are always treated unfairly. The company is always going down the tube and customers are worthless.

You know these negative Neds and Nellies – every organization has some. Here are tips for dealing with difficult, negative coworkers.

4. Overcome Your Fear of Confrontation and Conflict

Dealing with difficult conflicts at work.
Copyright Michael Blann / Getty Images

Meaningful confrontation is never easy but conflict is often necessary if you want to stick up for your rights at work. Whether the confrontation is over shared credit, irritating coworker habits and approaches, or about how to keep a project on track, sometimes you need to hold a confrontation with a coworker.

The good news is that while confrontation is almost never your first choice, you can become better and more comfortable with necessary conflict. Find out how dealing with difficult conflicts at work is easier and more positive with these steps.

5. Play Well With Others: Develop Effective Work Relationships

Combat dealing with difficult people with these work relationship musts.
Copyright Jack Hollingsworth / Getty Images

You can submarine your job and career by the relationships you form at work. No matter your education, experience, or title, if you can't play well with others, you won't succeed.

Effective relationships create success and satisfaction on the job. Learn more about seven effective work relationship musts. Combat dealing with difficult people with these work relationship musts.

6. How to Hold a Difficult Conversation

Dealing with a difficult conversation can have positive outcomes.
Copyright Phil Date

Have you encountered any of these examples of dealing with difficult people at work? They're just samples of the types of behavior that cry out for responsible feedback. These steps will help you hold difficult conversations when people need professional feedback. Dealing with a difficult conversation can have positive outcomes.

You will also want to take a look at:

7. What Coworker Behavior Drives You Crazy?

Dealing with difficult coworker behavior that drives you crazy.
Antonio M. Rosario / Getty Images
Most people have pet peeves about their coworkers. And, why not? Even relatively sane and likeable people do things that can drive their coworkers to distraction. Vote in my poll about what coworker behavior drives you crazy. Share your tips for dealing with difficult coworkers. Or, share your coworker's behavior that lights your fuse.

8. Dealing With Difficult Bosses

Dealing with difficult bosses is a skill you cann develop.
Copyright Creativo Photography

Nothing is more destructive in the workplace than difficult bosses. Every employee has a series of bosses over their working career. Hopefully, most of your bosses are competent, kind, and even, worthy of your trust and respect.

Unfortunately, too often, employees have difficult bosses who impact their desire to engage and contribute at work. Learn how dealing with difficult bosses is a skill you can develop.

9. Team Building With Coworkers

Team building with others to avert dealing with difficult situations at work.
Copyright Lise Gagne

You want to be well known and liked among the people the company regards as super stars, allies who have power and will speak up for you. (In fact, you can achieve job security if you are viewed as a super star.)

Building alliances at work is smart, effective for developing positive coworker relationships, and crucial for dealing with difficult or destructive coworker behavior in the workplace.

10. How to Manage Gossip

Dealing with difficult situations involving gossip: stop now.
Copyright Sean Fel

Gossip is rampant in most workplaces. Sometimes, it seems as if people have nothing better to do than gossip about each other. They gossip about the company, their coworkers, and their managers. They frequently take a partial truth and turn it into a whole speculative truth.

Dealing with difficult situations involving gossip occurs in every workplace. Find out how dealing with difficult gossip is a must-do and a can-do. Obliterate gossip from your work place.

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