Dealing With Challenging People

Dealing with challenging people can make a person crazy! It doesn’t matter if the person is a coworker or a team member on a school project…the challenges are similar and can make everyone look bad.

Some things coworkers / fellow students do that may drive you crazy:

  • Misses or is late for work, school, or a meeting
  • Dress unprofessionally / inappropriately for the occasion / meeting
  • Talks down to others
  • Blames others for something that goes wrong on a project
  • Constantly complains and nit picks over the smallest things
  • Takes credit for work they didn’t do
  • Does not contribute to the project significantly (and I agree does not constitute contributing significantly)
  • Talks about personal issues constantly
  • Boasting or bragging about money or other aspects of their lives
  • Misses deadlines
  • Constant interruptions rather than scheduling time to speak or sending an email
  • Know-it-all’s – you know that type…

So, how do you deal with these challenging individuals? Here are a few ideas:

Create and Enforce Clear Boundaries and Ground Rules (and be consistent!)

Creating clear boundaries and ground rules is essential in letting the individual know what you expect and what they should expect of you. Now, the hard part is enforcing them. Make sure that you consistently adhere to these boundaries and ground rules! Of you aren’t consistent, how can you expect them to be?

Rise Above

Don’t let them see that they bother you. In some cases, these individuals are being obnoxious or challenging because they want the attention (yes, just like kids!). So, if you ignore them long enough they may just stop, or better yet, they may change their behavior altogether!

Stick up for Your Rights

Now, don’t go off and start huge office-wars or punch his or her lights out. I recommend politely speaking with the individual about the actions you dislike. If this doesn’t work, then go up the chain of command to his or her supervisor (and beyond if this doesn’t work). Make sure that you are politically correct, calm, and you articulate your concerns so that individual can understand what you are trying to say. Also, make sure that you have proof to back up what you are saying, if needed.

Deal with it Immediately

Don’t let the behavior get so out of control that there is no way to fix it before you completely despise this person. Even if it is just a little thing, politely talk to the individual about your concerns before they become a huge deal.

Role Model the Right Behavior

Actions speak louder than words, so make sure your actions yell out what you expect of others by doing it yourself. How can you be mad as someone if they are acting just like you?

Have you been in a situation where you’ve had a coworker or fellow-student irritate you? What did you do?

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