Thinking Differently about Difficult People

Dealing with difficult people can cause us to lose focus, productivity, and increase stress levels. The ability to handle people we have negative feelings about can cause the office atmosphere to become unmanageable, stressful, and in some cases hostile. In order to effectively deal with the backstabbers, stubborn, mean-spirited, micromanagers, gossips, and the host of others that make the list, we must evaluate our own perceptions of these people. This means changing your attitude. When you change your attitude, you are able to focus on the issue and get the job done in a stress free environment. Get on the 'A' list. Here are three ways in which you can change your attitude:

1. Acknowledge that you cannot change other people’s attitudes.

This is an important factor. We are constantly trying to make people conform to our values/beliefs and this can be challenging, especially since people have their own morals and values. Also, by acknowledging we cannot change other people’s attitudes, this will allow us to keep our emotions balanced and in check.

2. Accept that people are different.

Everyone has different values, perceptions, and beliefs; these factors make up our personalities. Accepting that we are all unique and come from different backgrounds builds respect for that individual which gives us a different perspective of them.

3. Approach the individual(s) in a manner that is appropriate to meet your objectives and goals.
Now that you have acknowledged that you cannot change them and accepted their behavior as a part of who they are as a person, now is the time to develop a strategy on how you will approach them. Developing the approach starts by not taking their behavior personal. Most of the time it is not about you, unless you made a mistake or the person has become offended by your behavior, in this case, there needs to be conflict resolution - address the problem immediately. Second in developing the approach, practice active listening skills by clarifying and paraphrasing what you heard so that everyone is on the same page.

Prior to interacting with this person, you should have an agenda or objective and seek to accomplish the goal(s). This will give you satisfaction so that you can move on to the next task; hence, the increase in productivity.

When you get on the 'A' list you will begin to change your attitude which will cause you to 1) be less stressed, 2) be more productive, and 3) your professionalism remains in tact.

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