How to Cope with Difficult People in the Workplace

There will always be difficult people in the workplace for a wide range of reasons. It is important to learn what to do to cope and find the best way to handle them, especially if you are earning a Human Resources degree. Here are several tips on how to handle a difficult person, and who to get involved. 

Talk it out

The first approach should be to sit down with the other person and discuss what you are feeling. Let the other person know how he or she makes you feel; surprisingly, they may not even realize they are difficult to deal with. 

Try examining yourself

You must make sure that you are not taking statements out of context, overreacting or reading too much into situations. Turn to a trusted coworker to see if they feel the same way or have noticed that you get singled out by this difficult person. Also, you will want to ensure that you are not that difficult person at work.

Who to involve in the situation

Working with a complicated person on your own can be difficult. Sometimes, the difficult person knows that they are difficult and they do not care, so you may need to involve managers, bosses, or even a group of coworkers. If it is your manager that you are having problems with, you will want to consult his or her boss; however, make sure you have all the facts together. You do not want to go to your manager's boss with a complaint if it is not valid.

Working with difficult people in the office can take a toll on everyone. It can drastically reduce productivity, efficiency and employee morale. Being patient with those around you and expressing a willingness to help someone can show a person a lot about your personality. Communication is the key to success in a work environment and being respectful of others will, in turn, give you the respect you deserve.

External links provided on are for reference only. Rasmussen College does not guarantee, approve, control, or specifically endorse the information or products available on websites linked to, and is not endorsed by website owners, authors and/or organizations referenced.

Chelsea Sweet is a program manager at Rasmussen College in Tampa/Brandon, Fla. She has a bachelor's degree in Business Marketing from East Carolina University and is currently pursuing her master's in Business Administration with a concentration in Marketing from Saint Leo University.

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