The truth is, you’re not going to get along with everyone you meet. However, it’s important to find something positive in everyone, especially when it comes to your co-workers. Otherwise, you risk hurting your career over personality differences. Here are some tips that will help you work with difficult people more effectively:

Identify a positive trait.

When you need to work with a difficult person, identify a positive quality about him or her. What’s one trait you admire about this person? Remember, there’s something good in everyone. Sometimes you just have to look for it. And when you find it, who knows, it could change your whole perspective on someone.


Find a unique strength.

This person might not be the most fun to work with every day, but he or she was hired for a reason. What unique strength does he or she have that adds value to the company? What can you always rely on this person for at work? Even if it’s honest critical feedback, every person has a unique strength you can leverage. Identify it and find a way to leverage it.


Have a conversation.

If you can’t figure out how to work with someone on your own, consider having a conversation with that person. Find a solution that works for both of you. Don’t play the blame game, though. It will just make matters worse. Instead, focus on how you can work more efficiently together so you can both reach your goals.

Working with difficult people is… difficult. However, it’s a skill you must learn if you want to excel in your career. You’re going to have to work with all kinds of people throughout your life. Learning how to deal with the tough ones now will come in handy down the road.

If you need more help navigating workplace relationships, head over to career services at Longwood University and chat with a career coach. Both students and alumni are encouraged to leverage this resource. Check it out!


Ariella Coombs

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