Dealing with Difficult People at The Office? Here’s The Solutions

April 1, 20157:05 am646 views

Are there several problems at work that are ignited by difficult colleagues? As HR managers, we have to deal with them, in order to create a comfortable workplace. However, each type of difficult people at the office needs different treatment. Here are the solutions to successfully and painlessly contend with that person’s behaviour in a professional manner.

1. The deadweight

The deadweight is the person who doesn’t carry a fair share of the workload, avoids difficult assignments, and rarely delivers on promises.

Solution: On the rare moment the deadweight does help, be very generous by giving them the much-needed praise. Talk with the deadweight and reinforce any positive traits that person may have, and encourage him or her to do more. Positive reinforcement can work wonders. It’s a great motivator.

2. The rumour-spreader

The rumour-spreader gossips about others and loves to spread bad news. This can be very disruptive in the workplace.

Solution: Avoid this type of person as much as possible. At every opportunity, correct distorted and untrue gossip you may encounter. Discrediting the rumour-spreader will cause people to stop listening, and without an audience to entertain, the gossip will probably halt. If you must confront someone who is maliciously spreading rumours, expect denial. Have your evidence well documented, making it impossible for that person to duck responsibility.

3. The backstabber

The backstabber takes credit for anyone else accomplishments, badmouths you to your superiors or other important people, and says one thing to your face and another behind your back.

Solution: Of all of the kinds of difficult people, this is the one you should not tolerate, avoid, or ignore. Before confronting the backstabber, gather all of the evidence. It is important to stay calm. Present only the facts, not hearsay, innuendos, or supposition. Don’t attribute motive or intent. Describe the behaviour that will not be tolerated, and without threats, enlighten the backstabber of the consequences if the behaviour does not stop immediately.

4. The all-about-me person

This person cares far more about his or her own career than the good of the company, and will hog the limelight at every opportunity, stepping on toes if necessary.

Solution: Confront the all-about-me person. Be direct and let that person know that you will not be intimidated. If that fails, bring in a third party to act as a mediator.

5. The know-it-all

The know-it-all has an inflated ego and offers unwanted advice and information to anyone who will listen. This person will be the first one to say “I told you so” in the event anyone else’s making a mistake.

Solution: Tell the know-it-all that advice has more meaning when it has been requested and not volunteered. Or you can just smile, say thank you, and ignore that person and the advice.

6. The complainer

The complainer resists change, always expects the worst, and complains about everyone and everything.

Solution: This is another one to avoid when possible. Don’t get caught up in this person’s negativity. Counteract each negative remark with a positive one.

7. The firecracker

The firecracker flies off of the handle at the slightest provocation, is highly judgmental of others, and behaves in an unprofessional manner by shouting, name calling, and even using profanity.

Solution: Let the little firecracker blow off steam, and when this person cools down, respond calmly and slowly, but in an assertive way, to bring the firecracker down to your emotional level. Give this person specific feedback on explosive behaviour and let him or her know that this will not be tolerated in the workplace. Video-taping the firecracker and later allowing a private viewing would be a real eye opener.

Those seven profiles are fairly common. However, any difficult person could be handled with positive and direct communication.

Do remember however, that in the event of the dismissal of such colleagues, it is far better to seek their resignation and offer them a dignified exit, rather than simply dismissing them. This has benefits for all sides, while preserving the brand of the firm from any fallout of such a dismissal.

Enabling colleagues to be dismissed in a dignified, controlled manner allows for the firm to maintain operational security and seeking out a replacement, while maintaining the dignity of the dismissed colleague allows them to exit the firm with their dignity intact, as well as preserving some degree of informal relationship and affinity between the former employee and the firm.

See: Emotionally Intelligent People, Financially Better

The original article first appeared on Inc.

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