How has your week been? Ok or so-so? Well, I hope it will get better for you soon! But you are not alone in this regard, as not everyone has been having a very good time at work lately!

 You may be aware that that the popular social networking and link-sharing site Reddit, lost its CEO following the resignation last month of Interim CEO, Ellen Pao. Pao resigned following a user backlash against the sacking of one of the company’s employees, director of talent, Victoria Taylor, who was responsible for the site’s Ask Me Anything forums. Taylor’s dismissal led to a petition from users demanding Pao’s removal that attracted more than 210,000 signatures! It also led to Pao reportedly receiving death threats from users angry at her handling of the situation.

Unfortunately, difficult people, be they co-workers, bosses or customers, face us constantly. The way we handle them can affect your job, our advancement and even our health.

This being the case, here are 5 Top Tips to help you cope with these problematic relationships:-

1.Don’t take it personally

Sometimes, people are ‘difficult’ simply because of who they are. It might have nothing to do with you. So try not to take it personally, even if their comments are directed at you.

That person may be that way with everyone. Taking such comments personally, only makes dealing with that person harder for you.

Respond with compassion – most people are on their worst behaviour when they are suffering or insecure. Perhaps they are dealing with a problem in their personal life, or they’re struggling with an unseen illness. Maybe they lack appropriate social skills and are stumbling through their life as best they can. Viewing a difficult person with kindness and respect will help balance your perspective.

2.Validate them

You would be surprised what this simple action will do. One common reason people put up resistance is because they do not feel heard or understood.

Validating and listening to them to make them feel significant is the fastest way to move forward.

3.Ensure understanding

Effective communication is always important but never more so that when you’re dealing with a difficult person. Many times, an argument will develop because of communication breakdown or simple misunderstandings.

When someone is talking, listen carefully and make sure you understand that person’s point of view before you respond. Likewise, make sure the other person understands your own point.

What you resist persists! People tend to resist you more when you resist them. Spend a little extra time getting to know their point of view and ask them questions to understand it (and nod your head, say yes to show that you really are trying to understand their perspective, even if you don’t agree with it).

4.“I” rather than “You”

Using a statement that contains “I” involves less risk than a statement that contains “you.”

The first doesn’t sound like an accusation, so people are less likely to react negatively. For instance, instead of saying, “You never sent me that email,” consider saying, “I never received that email.”

5.Turn the tables

Difficult people often like to take the offensive, and they like to put other people on the defensive. Try turning the tables in that person.

For example, if someone says, “We can’t do that,” ask “What CAN you do?” If that person asks, “We can’t be ready by that date,” ask “When CAN you be ready?” or “What factors are keeping you from being ready on that date?”

Want to read more of the Top Tips?

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