3 Ways to Get Along with Difficult Coworkers

Nick Jones Leadership, Workplace Leave a Comment

Difficult, stupid and awful tend to be some of more common, less vulgar, words people shout out when it comes to the wearisome employees they’re forced to work with.

Finding a way to work with such difficult coworkers can be a challenge. Here are a few ways to smooth things out a little.

Spend As Much Time Actively Listening As You Can

Accomplishing this, however, is more art than a science.

I bet there are a lot of things that go into it science wise, but it’s more about focus and looking the part. You have to go out of your way to make it clear you are listening.

You have to be entirely present and attentive to listen properly. You can’t be looking at your phone or computer screen, and you can’t be thinking about what you going to do when you finish talking with them.

That’s extremely hard to do 100% of the time. But it’s necessary.

You have to properly use minimal encouragers and facial expressions, and you have to make eye contact in such a way they actually “feel” you’re listening.

You’ll find most employees who feel beaten-down come in to every situation with the expectation people aren’t going to listen in the first place. Whether that expectation is subconscious or not, it’s a reality you have to deal with as a leader.

Practice your facial expressions and listening with coworkers you trust and that are confident. Ask them what they think when you talk to them, and ask them for tips. You might even try it in the mirror. When you do, look for little triggers and little signs you unconsciously give that could be construed as not listening.

Trust is Everything

People often rise or fall to the expectations we have for them. If they feel you trust them, they will operate as such.

You have to work it within yourself to trust your employees and coworkers. If you can’t, well, that’s a sign you may need to be hiring a replacement or looking for a new job.

You’re going to have to go out of your way and show them that you trust them. Show them that you trust their ability, capability and intelligence.

Never Stop Gathering Information

A really great way to start building trust with people is to volunteer personal aspects about your life you feel comfortable sharing, and in return listening and validating the things they share with you.

Ask all the questions you can. The more you come to learn about a person the better you’ll be able to relate with them, even if they’re difficult.

Any question can be great, but the golden question is this: “What challenges are you currently experiencing in your position or in your career?” People love to talk about their challenges. And if they feel you have faith in them, more likely than not, they will.

That question can lead to many more. You can ask them how they overcame those challenges, you can ask them why you think they’re having those challenges and you can offer help when they need it.

Assuming you are finally able to get them to talk, don’t blabber off the hook. Let them talk and spend time listening. Talking too much can turn people off to you quite easily after all your hard work.

It’s hard to get along with some coworkers. Excruciatingly so sometimes. These are some very effective ways to easy building tensions with difficult employees, but there are so many possible ways to do so that I can’t write them all down. But these will steer you in the right direction.

What have you found works getting along with a difficult coworker? Please share you experiences in the comment section below!

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