Posts Tagged ‘Maintaining etiquette while dealing with difficult people’

In office, we meet diverse people; whether we like it or not, most of the times we have to deal them with grace- even the difficult ones. Back Stabbers. Know-it-all. Moaners. Procrastinators. Bullies. Negative. Quiet Ones. These are the common types of difficult people we encounter everyday. To maintain professionalism and uphold etiquette, we give you some helpful advice that you may consider when confronted by any of these people.

 1. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Acceptance is the key word. They come in the office as they are so do not expect that because they have met you they will change the way you want them to become. If there are differences, recognise that each is unique on its own. In case of conflict, avoid thinking of fighting back too soon; give them the benefit of the doubt, instead. For example, as a boss,  you can do this by first listening on the story and understanding main points. Don’t put the blame easily. Remember your job is to mentor and not to judge. A good leader helps fixes the breakdown and not to fix the blame for the breakdown. With this in mind, conflict resolution comes with ease.

2. If you think you are right, assert but stay courteous.

How many relationships have been destroyed because both parties are thinking they were correct? Mostly, it is the battle of the egos that is the root cause of conflict. Everyone can avoid this by maintaining respect while asserting reasons. In the end, what will it bring you if you were indeed correct? Pride? No matter who is right is often not an issue; how to settle it without compromising healthy relationship is.

3. Show them genuine kindness but set boundaries.

They say, “Gentleness and self control, against these things there is no law.” If we show people kindness, compassion, gentleness, humility and patience, who would argue with that? The emphasis is on genuine kindness because people may easily recognise if it was fake. Setting boundaries is also important because others often take for granted this trait. The character of a wise person is to distinguish not only what’s, why’s and how’s but also when’s  and where’s of thinking, saying and doing things.

4. Spot the source of the conflict then try to resolve it in advance before it’s too late.   

In this tip, we will notice that the emphasis is on the source of the conflict and not on the product. This is because knowing it will result in many lessons we can derive from including avoiding the setback before damage could be done. For example, if the source of the conflict between two different people is topic about religion or politics, then avoid the conversation about these. Choose the light issues, instead. A funny joke or a leisure trip to Boracay or anything you both can relate to can be alternative subjects. Spotting the source from the very beginning can eliminate negative vibes in the end.

5. Choose the right words to say in a proper timing.

Again, a wise person knows what to say and when not to say it. If we choose the right words in a proper timing, we can avoid the worst scenario we can ever deal with. Do not compromise yourself; you are what you’ve got. So, the next time you have to deal with difficult people, breathe. Inhale. Exhale. This will relax your mind and allow you to be reasonable. In the end, you would not want to carry the burden of the consequences of not choosing the rights words during the right time, would you?

6. Don’t take criticisms personal; learn from it, instead.

The difference between the professionals from the non-pros is the attitude. If something not good about you is noticed and is criticised, consider their opinion. If you think they were fair and reasonable enough then improve. Avoid being defensive. Remember that it is OK to fail because it is the pathway to success. The most successful people in the world are those who have failed the most, so never be afraid of it. Professionals are risk takers, they don’t take criticisms personally and they learn from mistakes and failures for the better.

7. Stay calm in the eye of a storm.

Another character of a professional is patience. Sometimes, negative people want to trigger response from you immediately. When you react without thinking ahead of time, you will be giving them what they want. During the storm when thunder and lightning are most prevalent, you would want to go in the centre of it, instead so that you may experience peace. It is the same as in any conflict. You do not want to stoop on their level, do you? So, stay calm. You have the option to uphold the Miranda right in the first place, that is- To remain silent (when in doubt) since everything you say can be used against you.

8. Show humility by accepting your faults if you are wrong; then be accountable.

Try saying this magical words and you will be surprised how effective it is in resolving conflict.

“You’re right. It is my fault and here is what I will do about it.”

Or even if you are convinced that you are correct, the mere act of humility is great and people will appreciate it, no matter how rude or cruel they are.

9. Take the courage to confront the person when they become too offensive; learn when to step back as a defense strategy.

This is the last option when you try to apply the passive and giving-them-the-benefit-of-the-doubt strategy and these fail. Sometimes, difficult people need to be confronted with because they cannot measure what you can do and cannot do unless they see any actions from you. To confront does not mean you have to declare war. It is just to send them the message that you feel offended by their actions (or inactions) and you want justice to prevail. But sometimes, if you think you cannot handle anymore dealing with them, it is better to stop the fight and quit. You want to detox all that are causing you stress, choosing to get them away from you or you from them could be the best possible solution.

10. Internalise that conflict could be a blessing in disguise.

Bo Sanchez, a writer and a Roman Catholic preacher, writes about how to deal with difficult people in a Christian way. Whatever religion or ideology we have, recognising the special gifts that difficult people give us or teach us will somehow lighten the hurts and brighten up our day. These gifts are the following:

1. Gift of learning to love unconditionally. We can easily love nice people; and learning to love the unlovable  is a great trait. If we feel compassion towards difficult people and we recognise that they too, have needs to be understood and loved, then this world will be a better place to live in,

2. Gift of learning to protect yourself and say, “No” to abuse. Again, setting boundaries from right or wrong is the lesson here. When you think they were biased, unfair and unreasonable, then it is about time to protect your own face.

3. Gift of learning your weaknesses. Once you learn your weaknesses then you will develop your strengths; learn threats and see opportunities.

4. Gift of being closer to Divine Providence. During dire needs is the time we most cling to our God for His intervention. And during the times when our faith is tested, our endurance has a chance to grow and develop our strong character, keeping us ready for anything.