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How to deal with difficult colleagues


Most of the time you can't choose who you work with: loners, pedants or gossips. Our training program helps you to communicate competently in conflict situations - and to distance yourself from anger.

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Photo: Johner Images/Getty Images

In the coffee kitchen, the boss is mocked because she once again didn't ask anyone and made the wrong decision.

Everyone gets upset – and goes back to the desk, agitated and in a bad mood.

Or: The colleague holds a dull monologue in the meeting, you can't get a word in and are therefore on edge.

You carry the anger with you for a few hours, so that you cannot concentrate properly and lose even more time.

There are many reasons why the working atmosphere can be bad and why teamwork doesn't work.

You can't necessarily change the behavior of others - but you can change how you deal with difficult people.

The free eight-week training program "Resolving Disputes" helps to reflect on one's own behavior and to develop better strategies for overcoming conflicts at work.

You can read the first coaching unit right here.

The remaining units will be emailed to you on Fridays if you register for them here.

And if you want to find out beforehand how conflict-capable you are, you can do a check here.

Step 1: First aid tips for acute conflicts

There is tension in every team.

But sometimes a limit is crossed, emotions escalate, a situation changes.

In these moments, quarrels often arise, which are followed by years of enmity.

But if you de-escalate immediately, you'll contain the damage.

In this first step of the coaching "resolve disputes" you will find the tools for such emergency situations.

Recognizing that there is a fire

When conflicts at work are dealt with in an irrelevant and emotional manner, a boundary is quickly crossed.

In the team or in meetings, everyone is suddenly alert and tense.

One senses: this is not right!

Below you will find a few keywords that you can use to recognize when a dispute at work is getting out of hand.

Read through the points at your leisure and, as a first step, think about which situations in your professional life come to mind.

+++ The tone changes in such a way that one is startled.

+++ A person screams or cries.

+++ There is a personal insult.

+++ The conflict is so present that nobody can concentrate on their work.

+++ One person leaves the room angrily.

+++ Multiple exchanges of blows back and forth: "That's not true." - "Yes, that's true." +++ Defense and defensive sentences like "I won't let anyone tell me that."


Get a helicopter view

As soon as something from this list comes up in an interaction, whether you're a participant or a spectator, it pays to immediately switch to "emergency communication" mode.

Resolutely adopt an attitude of impartiality by taking a helicopter view of the situation as a whole.

Who is to blame, who did or said what is irrelevant.

State that something is going wrong, for example with the sentence: "Everyone is upset, we're not getting anywhere here." Signal that you accept all positions as equal, for example by saying: "Everyone should be able to present their point of view.

That's not possible right now." Suggest what to do next, such as: "We should all cool down - take a break.

Next Time

Now think back to a situation you were involved in or witnessed on your team.

Now, as a kind of dry run, try applying the helicopter strategy to the situation at the time.

To do this, write down a few phrases in a notebook that you could have said.

TIP Pay attention

to the next situations in the job that are in the red area.

Then immediately try to de-escalate with the helicopter strategy!

We will send you the next steps by email free of charge on Fridays if you register here.

Source: spiegel

All business articles on 2022-09-24

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