Getting Along with Difficult People

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    Jacqueline Wolven

    I’ve been thinking a lot about teams, relationships and how we get along with people. Workplace dynamic is a big part of why people change jobs, experience unhappiness, and lose productivity. What I keep going back to is that we don’t get to choose everyone that we encounter and if we can learn to practice kindness in the workplace it might move us along further. How do you deal with difficult people?

    Razwana Wahid

    Hi Jacqueline. Great topic and one that is rather close to my heart!

    I’m not one for crying in the office, but in my last job, I did just that with a man that was simply a bully. I spent a long time blaming him for it, and I gave him all the power over me.

    When I finally stopped and considered things from his perspective, I saw him for what he really was – insecure, misunderstood and lashing out as a result.

    This helped me deal with the emotional side of it. I then, of course, discussed his behaviour with my manager and eventually HR. It resulted in a *slight* change in his behaviour (i wish I could say it was a miraculous transformation, but it sadly wasn’t the case) which made my life easier whilst I was with the business.


    – Razwana


    How do you deal with coworkers that continually try to find every little thing you do wrong and throw you under the bus? In my job, we have no process documentation or ‘Guides’ of any sort, which is quite appalling if you ask me. So between working like a maniac for 8-10 hours straight, there’s people who will point out every mistake you make on a daily basis. It is getting to feel very defeating and demeaning. I really am trying my best, but I am only human and am bound to mess up. I’m just tired of feeling as though I can’t touch ANYTHING without screwing it up :(.

    Razwana Wahid

    Hi Heather. To understand your situation better, here are some questions:

    – Are these people in your team or in a different team to you?
    – How is your relationship with your manager/superior?
    – Who else feels the same in the office?

    The reason I ask is that perhaps looking at the wider picture will give you some perspective. Of course, if others are experiencing the same thing, then it is not OK to just allow it to happen. But it will help you see if this is something that is aimed at you, or a cultural thing in your office.

    What conversations have you had on this topic with a person of influence (by which I mean your manager or HR)? Feeling like this in the office is not something anyone should experience – and it sounds to me like you are ready to take some action.

    Much love,


    Hi Heather,
    I am also going through one such situation. At times understanding why the other person is behaving that way actually helps. Sometimes people do such things to protect themselves from their own mistakes, so that by highlighting yours their mistakes are hidden. False sense of satisfaction gets created there.

    If there is no such thing, try talking to that person directly once – how you feel when he/she does that. Take help of people at office who can support you. Worst case contact HR. No company likes to have employees who demean other employees morale.

    If nothing works, Its time to quit this place. !!! But one of the above might help.



    I have had my share of difficult personalities in the work place. Naturally I’m very independent as well, so hearing criticism or even implied criticism I’m especially sensitive to. I’m not sure how to deal with the personalities, I guess I try to realize their perspective, but sometimes I think authority figures can underestimate how their words affect workers. I had a manager once joke around with me and pretend he did not know who I was. It was not obvious, and it took awhile for me to realize it was a joke, but I left the conversation feeling very degraded and undervalued none the less. An employee deserves to feel their time is valuable, and not that they are wasting others time. They deserve to feel like they ARE doing the best they can, and its a great job. They deserve to be recognized. In certain circumstances, mistakes are intolerable, but I have had bosses call me out for ridiculous reasons. I have been blamed for things that were not my fault, or hassled frequently about a task I was doing my best to complete. Impatient bosses or managers are really bothersome. If you cannot help an employee, distracting them with asking them time and time again “when will that be done?” will not help them do it any faster. Personally, I just completed a training program where this was the case. The manager and other superiors faulted me for taking the time to do the course at my own speed. And then they got impatient and I began failing every single module I tried to complete. These all had to be repeated. I did not have confidence in myself because what they were telling me was that I was slow, incompetent, and unable to do the task. I now know that I have to go in very early for my first day, and I do not do well in mornings. It is difficult to voice your needs in a position, but you do your best. Let’s hope every manager can be understanding to their employees, and we can be understanding of their responsibilities in return.

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