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Rise Above the Fray: How to Deal With Difficult People at Work

By Susan M. Heathfield, About.com Guide

Difficult people do exist at work. They 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.

Difficult people come in every conceivable variety. Some talk constantly and never listen. Others must always have the last word. Some coworkers fail to keep commitments. Others criticize anything that they did not create. Difficult coworkers compete with you for power, privilege and the spotlight; some go way too far in courting the boss’s positive opinion – to your diminishment.

Some coworkers attempt to undermine you and you constantly feel as if you need to watch your back. Your boss plays favorites and the favored party lords it over you; people form cliques and leave you out. Difficult people and situations exist in every work place. They all have one thing in common. You must address them. No matter the type of difficult situation in which you find yourself, dealing with difficult people or situations is a must.

Why You Must Deal With Difficult People

Trust me. Your situation won’t get better; left unaddressed, it usually gets worse. Unaddressed, necessary conflict simmers just below – and often erupts counterproductively above – the surface at work.


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