These 3 Tactics Make It Easier to Get Along With Difficult Co-Workers

Updated 05/23/17
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Let's face it, no matter how much we'd like to get along with everyone at work, it's not always possible. However, Nicholas Epley, behavioral psychology specialist at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, found that moderately altruistic individuals were easier to work with and had better reputations, which meant that they could accomplish more. So learning how to swallow your pride in the name of avoiding conflict with difficult co-workers with has a literal pay off.

Deep Patel, the author of A Paperboy's Fable: The 11 Principles of Success, tells Business Insider the best way to avoid conflict and personality clashes is to treat everyone with the same level of respect. In other words, always remember your manners and be polite. This way, demanding or annoying colleagues won't have an opportunity to worsen the situation. To keep your cool, remember these three golden rules:

1. Try not to take things personally, as jumping to conclusions can lead to impulsive confrontations or unnecessary hurt.

2. Don't respond defensively or passive-aggressively, no matter how upset or annoyed you are.

3. Pick your battles. Ask yourself: Is this worth my time and energy, or am I just extra sensitive to this person's antics today? 

If you reflect on the situation once you've cooled off, you'll be able to calmly reevaluate it in an appropriate setting that doesn't compromise your work environment. This process will ultimately help you come up with a productive resolution, whether it means bringing in a third party facilitator or simply letting it go.  

How do you cope with difficult people at work? Share your advice in the comments below. 

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