Unbearable people, who doesn’t know them? That one colleague who always brags, that neighbor who parks her car in an antisocial way again and again or your supervisor who always interferes with your work just a little too much. In these situations frustration, gossip or discomfort often arise faster than you’d like. According to research by the American psychologists Alan Cavaiola and Neil Lavender you are not alone. Almost everyone who works (about 80 percent) suffers from stress symptoms as a result of working with a difficult colleague or boss. Ranging from mild to serious complaints. Time to do something about it!

Avoiding unbearable types is of course a way to keep you standing. Ultimately, however, this is not a solution, and sometimes the confrontation is the only way out. How do you make sure that you remain master of this kind of situation and keep your head up high when you start and end the conversation? And, what do other people find irritating about you? Last week we revealed the secrets of dealing with unbearable types with an international group of workshop participants. Curious about the key insights that we shared with them? Below you will find eight top tips for working effectively with the most difficult colleagues!

Learn and compliment

Most people have a reason to disagree with others. Often times this is related to negative thoughts and emotions. Self-pity and insecurity (fear) are common ones. Fortunately annoying expressions of unmet needs like these are often easy to fix. At times when your colleague is about to start acting in an irritating way, because (s)he fails at accomplishing something, consider naming things that do go well and praising him or her for that. Both receiving compliments and giving them, immediately creates a positive atmosphere and very probably prevents the worst irritations for the future.

Look for Strength Creators

Even though at times it seems as if the person you can not stand is doing everything wrong: every person has good qualities that make them strong and successful as well. Try to focus your attention on that. If only you have an eye for the nice way you colleague talks or the beautiful shoes (s)he is wearing. That way, during a nasty confrontation, you keep your attention to something positive, and make sure that the frustration does not run too high.

The 8 Best Tips:

  1. Find out when you are unbearable yourself. Discover the positive intentions causing this behavior, to better understand other unbearables.
  2. Be aware of your irritation and frustration and see it as a sign that you can deliberately do something about it.
  3. Accept your own negative emotions and ask yourself ask yourself what in you is triggered by the other person’s behavior.
  4. Know where the other person is coming from. Try to understand why (s)he is acting the way (s)he is.
  5. Ask yourself what you do (and can leave out) which exacerbates the behavior of the other.
  6. Think of why the other person’s behavior is irritating you so much.
  7. Never try to solve something when you or the other person are suffering from negative emotions.
  8. Acknowledge and accept the emotions the other person experiences. Help him or her to return to constructive behavior, in the direction of what that person wants to achieve.

Onuitstaanbare, communicatie, samenwerken, samen werken

Learn to deal with your most unbearable types

What drives the persons you find most unbearable? And how can you communicate and work with them more effectively? What do other people actually find irritating about you? And how can you prevent that from happening? Answers to questions like these you will receive during the training Dealing with People You Can’t Stand.