Select Page


Leadership Coaching: Coping With Difficult People In The Workplace
By Mike Krutza

The Cost Of Workplace Conflict

How much of workplace conflict do supervisors and managers have to deal with? According to an article featured by the Conflict Resolutions Center, that’s 30% to 40% of their daily activities. That’s 1/3 of the company leaders’ workday spent for handling rifts among people in the workplace. In this day and age where time is never enough, that’s a cost companies cannot afford.

What happens when there are co- workers or bosses that employees don’t like, are afraid of or whom they find difficult to work with? Litigation cost is high, work projects don’t make it on the deadline and employees avoid work by having too many sick days.

What Is Really Going On?

What’s the real deal here and what’s really going on? You might think the workplace is no kids’ play and people ought to deal with workplace conflict as adults, but it’s often not that easy. Life experiences have gotten employees to this point, and some of them are negative experiences of having been teased by siblings, being bullied in school or having been picked on by teachers. Some parents may have not done quite a good job of raising confident and self assured children. These situations are apt to make some employees incapable of dealing with difficult people in the workplace. There just wasn’t enough practice.

Very few of us, throughout the course of our lives, were taught how to deal with difficult people in active and productive ways. In a work situation wherein you’re struggling with other co- workers or superiors, what should you do? There are those who think of the easiest way out- quitting, but dealing with the problem is a better option.

How To Cope With Difficult People

Learn the skills of coping with difficult people in the workplace, which are also skills you can use in other situations.

  • The first thing you have to ask yourself is- is that person worth your time and frustration? How does he/she impact you? Maybe that person is simply annoying, or do they prevent you from accomplishing your tasks? Sometimes it doesn’t matter as much as you think, so don’t waste your time or energy.
  • What are your options? If the person really does impact you, what can you do to resolve the issue? Should you talk it over coffee? Or should you use a different approach when working with him/her? Should you look for somebody to mediate between you?

  • Try viewing the situation objectively and with detachment. What can you learn from your boss or co worker? Think about why they bother you so much. Be interested and clinical. This removes the personal sting of that person’s behavior towards you.

  • Try changing your attitude. How about seeing what’s positive about the situation or the person and modifying things accordingly? Change the lens you use so that your experience changes.

Regardless of the conflict or difficulty in the workplace, believe that it will pass. The job or the situation is not the be all and end all of your existence. Things change, and with positive and hopeful approach, they will change for the better.

Mike Krutza specializes in executive coaching with individuals and teams. Visit Mike’s website here.

Recommended PM App

Recommended PM App