Has Workplace Incivility Impacted Your Life? – Tips on Dealing with Difficult People
Dealing with difficult people is no easy feat, especially when it comes to those who make our lives unbearable at work. Whether it’s a boss who constantly berates you or a coworker who always has something negative to say, it can be tough to navigate these situations without losing your cool.
Unfortunately, incivility in the workplace is on the rise. According to a study by Weber Shandwick and Powell Tate, 43% of Americans have experienced incivility at work, and 38% believe that the workplace is becoming increasingly disrespectful. This is a worrying trend, and it can have serious consequences not just for our productivity but also for our mental and physical well-being.
In this article, we’ll explore some tips on dealing with difficult people at work and how to manage the psychological consequences of workplace incivility.
Breaking Free from the Vicious Cycle
Bob Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford University and author of “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t,” suggests that many difficult relationships are a result of a vicious cycle of offense and revenge. In other words, people try to one-up each other, and it becomes a never-ending cycle of negativity.
Sutton suggests that the key to breaking free from this cycle is to stop trying to win or get back at the other person. Instead, we need to focus on finding ways to solve the problem and move forward. This can be difficult when we feel personally attacked, but it’s important to try and be objective.
Listening and Empathy
One of the most effective ways to deal with difficult people is to listen to them and try to put ourselves in their shoes. This can help us understand where they’re coming from and find common ground. We can also try to identify what’s meaningful to them and help them find ways to get it.
If things have escalated to the point where every interaction with the difficult person is painful, Sutton suggests taking them out to lunch and addressing the conflict proactively. Tell them that the relationship isn’t going as well as you’d like and ask what you can do to improve things.
Self-Worth is Most Important
Despite our best efforts, some difficult people may persist in their negative behavior. If you constantly feel personally attacked and it starts to take a toll on your well-being, it’s important to look for ways to get out of the situation. As Sutton says, some people are so toxic they’re not worth it.
Your self-worth is the most important thing, and you need to prioritize your mental and physical well-being over pleasing a difficult person. This might mean looking for another job or finding ways to reduce your interactions with the difficult person.
Dealing with difficult people at work can be a daunting task, but it’s important to remember that we’re not powerless. By listening, being empathetic, and trying to break free from the vicious cycle, we can find ways to manage difficult relationships and improve our workplace environment. However, when nothing seems to work, it’s perfectly acceptable to look for ways to get out of a toxic situation and prioritize our own well-being.