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building relationships with difficult colleagues will make you a better leader

Building relationships with difficult colleagues can be a tall order…

Have you ever had a colleague, client or boss that you avoid having difficult conversations with?

Do they tend to react negatively to certain situations, so much so, that you dread the moment you may have to interact with them?

Avoiding a situation isn’t always possible or practical, especially if you spend an estimated 40 hours a week alongside the person you’re trying to avoid. So, if you happen to be stuck with a difficult person try to build a better working relationship with them. Make an effort to identify what it is that makes them difficult and understand why that may be. After all, we all have our own individual quirks, so it’s good practice to be mindful of how you’d feel in the same position.

Make an effort to identify what it is that makes them difficult and understand why that may be. After all, we all have our own individual quirks, so it’s good practice to be mindful of how you’d feel in the same position.

By facing the conflict head on and handling the situation (rather than continuing to avoid), you will not only improve your own management skills but also, build your professional network.

consider these actions when building relationships with difficult colleagues

take a keen interest 

Find out what they like to do with their spare time and get to know them. Find common ground as this will help you build a relationship

try to understand why they’re being difficult

They may be being a difficult colleague for a number of unknown reasons to you, so don’t assume anything. They may have a crazy workload, loads going on at home or just not feeling themselves. Be patient and understanding when you need to.

understand the way they work

They may be the type of person who doesn’t like to hear lots of detail and just wants to get straight to it or, they may want the full background to a situation so that they feel involved and valued. Adapt your working style to suit them to get the most out of your conversations and build rapport.

ask for their advice

Make them feel involved, listen, be considered and ask them what they think would be best. This will help you build mutual respect.

always act the same

Don’t change who you are in an attempt to get the best possible outcome from your colleague. Stay true to yourself and stand your ground when you need to – they will respect you more for this in the long run. Remember a positive outlook is much more likely to lead to a positive outcome.

is it you?

Be self-aware; learn about your strengths and weaknesses and try to understand why your actions may trigger certain
responses. Be mindful and take a step back to consider how they may react to a situation. This will help you rethink your approach and will lead to a more positive outcome.

improve yourself regardless

Download this infographic on building relationships with difficult colleagues and learn how to manage and handle awkward and testing situations with ease.

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