Top 5 Tips for Working With Difficult People

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Last week in my Top 5 Tips column we talked about how you can add the right people to your team. But what if you add someone to your team and it turns out they aren’t much fun to work with? Of course, as the boss you could just fire them, but surely there must have been some reason for you to employ them in the first place? Rather than losing them altogether you will probably want to devise a strategy to work with them, so here are our Top 5 Tips for working with difficult people:

1. Try to understand their viewpoint, even if you know that they are completely wrong about something. Perhaps they are under a lot of pressure and they want things done a certain way to make things easier for them, even if means more work for the rest of the team. Explain to them that their actions are making life difficult for the rest of the team.

2. Some people just want to be loved. No, really! Trying giving them praise for everything they do right and this will make it more obvious when you are annoyed by the things they are doing wrong. They might also then be able to take your criticism in the spirit it is intended instead of flying off the handle.

3. Consult with the rest of the team regarding how they feel about this person. Most people will be unlikely to say anything negatively, so if you have multiple people all expressing their concerns about this one person then their position in your business is probably untenable.

4. Keep your composure with this individual. There is probably nothing more they would enjoy than engaging in a public shouting match with you or having the satisfaction of winding you up until you blow your top – then they can tell everyone about how they are being victimised!

5. Conflict resolution could be a solution if you are genuinely willing to compromise slightly in order to gain a resolution. Sit down and talk with them to hear their viewpoint and come up with a proposal where neither of you comes out on top. Of course, you should only do this for major issues, otherwise they might fight you on every little thing.

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