Every business contains workers that many would describe as “difficult.” Dealing with these unusual individuals is not simple and is a source of irritation for many, particularly those charged with the responsibility of developing and maintaining a strong, healthy work environment.
The most anxious calls I get from mentoring clients often revolve around how to handle these personnel, and this is the key to success: There are no such things as “difficult” individuals. Nobody ever gets up and sets out to make life unpleasant for others. They just do not… Therefore, alter the label and context and continue reading.
There will be some who will test us, and here’s the thing about leadership that you must remember during these trying times: You must lead your whole organization! Not only the staff that make your life a bed of flowers, but also those that infuse it with a little fire!
We need to shift our perspective from seeing these folks as a thorn in our side to seeing them as our greatest gift. Leaders are constantly willing to take on new challenges, and these extraordinary individuals teach us so much about acceptance, variety of opinion, empathy, cooperation, and patience.
Additionally, they push us to look beyond the box and to appreciate the wonder that diverse personalities, perspectives, ideas, and solutions offer to any work setting. You just need to understand how to lead, empower, and nurture them in the same way that you do with your rainbows and flowers.
Fortunately, there are straightforward methods for developing a pleasant working connection with even the most difficult colleagues (and an easier life for you).
Indicate your emotions
My job and experience managing these difficult workers have taught me the value of acknowledging the emotion elicited by this individual.
Not just identifying it, but also devising a strategy for leading this individual responsibly while keeping myself in control.
Maybe this individual arouses specific emotions in you OR perhaps they have identified and pushed your buttons.
Whatever it is, you must accept it and refrain from allowing these sentiments to dictate your future interactions with this individual.
Take Care to Listen
Employees who present difficulties are often misinterpreted, regarded as difficult, and terminated.
Allow yourself to actually listen to them.
What are they trying to accomplish?
What are they genuinely attempting to convey?
It’s remarkable how much you can learn about someone and their behavior just by listening.
Never is leadership about coercing your staff into adapting to your requirements.
You must get acquainted with the communication preferences and personality characteristics of each individual and change your leadership style to approach and satisfy their demands.
If you are unsure of what they need, just ask.
They will be appreciative that you care enough to inquire, and it will significantly simplify your life.
Don’t Avoid at all costs
Early in my career, I worked for an employer that made a point of avoiding difficult people.
The avoidance resulted in a profoundly poisonous work atmosphere in which the challengers exerted influence over the employer and the rest of us suffered.
While it may take some additional time to walk through issues with these individuals initially, it will save you a lot of time and aggravation in the long run.
Recognize when you have had enough!
When a difficult employee begins to have a ripple effect across the team, you must understand when it is time to terminate the working relationship.
Even the finest leaders recognize when they have done everything possible to make something work and it just will not (I wish I could say we are all miracle workers, but this is not the case).
Nobody hates to let someone go, but this is a sad truth of being a leader in a management position.
Having said that, this does not render them “difficult.”
It is also possible that they were not a good match for your company but would be ideal for another.
Everybody fits someplace, and everyone deserves an equal opportunity.
Therefore, if you actually invest the time to understand each and every one of your workers, what motivates them, and how they rely on you to be there for them, you will be pleasantly pleased.
Consider changing the perspective from them being our greatest struggle to them being our greatest gift and seeing what occurs.