Dealing with Difficult Co-workers

We've all worked with difficult people at one time or another. Over bearing bosses, the office know it all, the office gossip, the inflexible team leader, the chauvinistic coworker etc...

How can you leverage the benefits of emotional self-awareness to best manage these relationships and get your work done?

I hearken back to the teachings of Steven Covey: what’s within your circle of control and what’s within your circle of influence? When a miserable jerk with power shakes you up and triggers your fight-fight-freeze (or play dead) response you must PAUSE – take a breath and respond based on your values and the most effective outcome you desire from the situation, the relationship and from yourself.

You must know and have top of mind your most important values that drive your choices, responses and decisions. Character is forged in those times in life when jerks press your buttons and test your values. A person who values non-judgment might focus on their circle of control and easily let go of upsetting emotions triggered by the miserable person. Another who values candor and courage may be compelled to respectfully address the behavior. Someone who values curiosity may ask open ended questions and approach the person with sincere interest. And yet another who values fun may engage with humor to open hearts and minds.

Prepare yourself in advance of your next difficult encounter by writing down your values and keeping them visible (such as on a post-it-note, note-pad or in your phone). The next time you feel the ol' fight-flight-freeze - pause, reflect on your values and choose your response. P.S. this approach works with relatives too!

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Susan ClarineComment