Dealing With Difficult People at Work: Can't Control Them But You Can Control You

Here's a nice little article written by Tony Schwartz in the Harvard Business School Blog Network. Provides some nice, useful perspectives regarding how to deal with people in the workplace, bosses or otherwise, that you find to be difficult. You know, people that backstab, steal your ideas, micromanage you, don't give you credit, can't make up their minds, nag you, don't respond to your requests, is flaky, etc. No doubt most of us can relate.

We all know you can't control the other person but we also need to be reminded of this fact. This applies to all relationships, work or otherwise. But you CAN control how you react. This article summarizes three effective ways of doing so:

1. Realistic Optimism: You can't change them but you can change the way YOU react. Instead of reacting negatively, you can reassess what really is the "problem" in your mind and then choose to look at things...and react to them...more positively.

2. The Reverse Lens: You feel threatened and devalued, but another way out is to take a hard look at what is driving your boss/coworker to act the way they are, and to try to understand them. What's driving the other person's behavior and can you empathize with them? Your empathy may help give them the value they seek and may improve the situation.

3. The Long Lens: OK, maybe the other person truly is a dirtbag that in the long term you'll never be able to work with. So another way to deal with it is, what can you learn from them and/or the situation. Can it, will you let it, lead to bigger and better things in your life.

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