Working with difficult people can be hard but it doesn’t have to be

Ever work on a project with a difficult person. Someone who pushes their way around trying to make everyone else on the team look bad. If their tasks are not finished, it’s everyone else’s fault. “This tool wasn’t finished”, or ” They didn’t give me what I needed”, and my favorite “That person is a problem, if you let me do this, then everything would be done better”.

Before raising a militia, kissing the spouse and children and running off to war, stop and reevaluate. Depending on your environment, the best way to deal with an annoying person may not be head on. Mind you, it is in my humble opinion that people who declare themselves enemies should be treated as such. Carry no hesitation and deal swiftly with people who stand on the opposite side of the battlefield.  Just remember, there are a lot of ways to deal with someone before declaring the field of battle. Also, when the battle ground has been decided, usually the victor already has the advantage.

If in corporate America, working on projects as a contractor, or doing a joint venture, remember, email is your friend. If not email, then text messages. The more documentation y0u have the better position you are in to fight back. If you are giving instructions over the phone or in person, email a summary to the person. If they respond or do not respond, you are now documenting in a way that can later be used to defend your actions, or lack of actions. If the person responds with a, that is not what I said, or that is not what you’re suppose to do, have them respond with an outline.

If no response is received, just ask questions to others that are involved with the project. Do not start rumors or try to be a master spy having rumor and speculation take down your opponents. Just ask questions, “I don’t fully understand what they want. I sent this email, and it is almost verbatim to what they said, but now they are saying this….”. Having other people review the emails you send in a non-aggressive way will help you later, TRUST ME!!!! THIS IS IMPORTANT!!!!

The more instructions you have that are written down, the less room for misunderstanding and someone else changing their story later.  Be the person who emails daily. Many emails can be very short, similar to text messages.

Allow pushy, non-working, bullies to destroy themselves. If face to face combat is required, fight with everything you have.  Donald Trump them and sweep the dust from their bones into the gutter, but remember this is an expensive route. Many times the collateral damage will take you and some of your friends to the bone yard also. If you do survive, the results may leave you in a compromised position for a long time. Better to allow them to destroy themselves. Do your part of the project at superior levels and let them become a distant memory you can relive while laughing and drinking with friends.


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