Vincy Workplace
May 27, 2016
Difficult people or difficult behaviours?

IN EVERY WORK ENVIRONMENT there is a person who just seems to go out of his/her way to make others miserable.

Some are never satisfied; others just complain about everything; and still others make working difficult in every way.

These types of individuals put a drain on employee morale and productivity overall, so it’s important to address the issue.{{more}} In so doing, remember that for the discussion to work, do not attack the person; speak about their behaviours and the impact they’re having. There are no difficult people, just difficult behaviours and this can change.

Here are a few tips to help:

1. Separate the person from the behaviour. The person is not their behaviour.

2. Nip it in the bud. Don’t delay and hope for things to get better. Address the issue immediately.

3. Use your listening skills. Walk in their shoes for a little while and see things through their eyes. Don’t jump to conclusions; just listen, then paraphrase and make sure you understand their point of view.

4. It’s not about you. Chances are people who display difficult behaviours may not be aware of it. They have many other issues that affect their behaviour or that’s the only way they know to handle an issue.

5. Outline the expectations. Sometimes people just don’t know that certain behaviours are expected of them, so be specific either in a goal plan or during your appraisal time.

6. Avoid the broken record syndrome. Address an issue and move on. Constantly discussing it without a consequence trivializes everything.

7. HR/Ombudsperson: When all else fails, take up the issue with the Human Resources (HR) department or a mediator. Ensure that the third party is neutral.

8. Positive reinforcement: Always say something positive at the end of the discussion that emphasizes the person’s value to the organization.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.”

Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace,
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