It’s easy to get caught up in interpersonal conflicts at work. But these negative dynamics can lead to constant mistakes, reduced creativity, and impaired decision-making. Here are four ways to work more effectively with difficult colleagues.

Begin With the End in Mind

To deal with difficult colleagues, start by identifying your goals. What do you want to achieve? Is cooperating with the difficult colleague essential to the work you do? When you know what you want from the interaction, you can focus on that and not on the petty behaviors of your difficult colleague.

Change Your Perspective

Understand that we see the world through our perceptual filters, so instead of expecting your colleague to agree with you, put the spotlight on yourself. Challenge your assumptions and be willing to take the first step. Never get into a fight with a pig because you both get dirty and the pig likes it. So, rather than getting sucked in the negativity, see how a change of perspective can make a difference.

Refrain from Gossiping

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We all need someone to share our problems with. When dealing with difficult colleagues, avoid gossiping! First, choose your interlocutor wisely. Pick someone who is constructive, positive and won’t let you bash someone behind their backs. Second, avoid the natural tendency to focus every conversation on the petty colleague. When venting to friends or colleagues, ask for advice about what you can do to improve the relationship. It’s troublesome enough to deal with a difficult colleague, so do your best to get out of it instead of being dragged down by it.

Keep an Open Mind

Find the strength in you to overlook the difficult colleague’s qualities amidst all their negativity. It takes a powerful mind to accept that even at our worst moment, there is still a glimmer of beauty.


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There couldn’t be an article about dealing with difficult colleague without mentioning listening. Listening as I have shown in a previous piece involves giving your heart, divided attention, and acknowledgement to the person we are talking to. Often, the difficult colleague acts the way they do because of a lack of self-esteem. When they find someone who listens to them and makes them feel valuable, they may change their attitude.


We are social beings, which makes interpersonal relationships a necessity. Avoiding a difficult colleague isn’t always a viable solution, thus hope you find these techniques useful.

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