Difficult people can make being productive quite a challenge—especially when the job at hand is difficult enough as it is! However, learning to manage strong personalities is a key aspect of success, as well as a part of life. If you want to achieve your goals, you’ll need to learn how to be productive despite being surrounded by difficult individuals.
The first step, of course, is mental discipline—maintaining a positive outlook. But how can you keep your spirits up when you are surrounded by negativity? The simplest and most effective strategy is to stay focused on what you are looking to achieve, both short-term and in the long run. You may find it helpful to write out a list of your goals and review it periodically.
With a little thought and planning, you may also be able to diffuse the irritating qualities of people you deal with on a regular basis. Analyze the source of the the behavior—perhaps your demanding boss is unhappy with her life, or your surly coworker suffers from low-self esteem. Listen, observe, and see if you can get to the root of the matter. You can then devise strategies to reduce, minimize, or even eliminate trouble wherever possible.
Understanding your environment, as well as the problems and motivations of those who inhabit it, gives you an opportunity to deflect and control any issues that affect your work. Stay calm and focused, and keep the concerns of others at the forefront of your mind. In a perfect world, you’d never have to deal with difficult people—but if you can’t learn how to manage the needs of others, you are the one who will suffer.
—Madeline Lewis, Career Coach