A lot of people are working in a different way or even in a different environment in 2020, but there are plenty that still work with others on a daily basis. 

I get asked how to deal with difficult co-workers. Since it is Cranky Coworker Day, I thought we could take this on.

I can tell you from my decades of experience in psychology, that I am still really bad at changing people. I can’t make another person behave differently, only myself. I can teach principles, but in terms of changing people, they have to want to do that. 

So, everything that changes, has to happen with you, internally, inside yourself. 

That probably wasn’t the answer you were expecting, but stay with me for a minute.

When we shift our perception, it changes the focus, and our frustration level drops.

The first tip is to CHANGE YOUR GOAL

It is easy to think, “If they did something differently, then things would be better for me.” It might even be true. 

But it is not helpful. 

It leads others to perceive you as critical, demeaning, judgmental, or demanding. 

Is that what you want to project?

Changing your goal means choosing to change what you could accomplish with your colleague. For example, my goal today is to learn something from that person. You might be saying, I don’t even want to be around them, how am I supposed to do that? Well, you can. Everyone on this planet can learn something from everyone else. 

Another goal may be to choose to enjoy them. 

I understand, this person annoys you to no end. EVERYTHING they do annoys you, even when they breathe. I hear you.

I remember someone back in high school who irritated and annoyed most of my class. I kind of enjoyed this person. One of my classmates approached me and asked me, “Why do you not seem to be annoyed by him?” I told the person, “I enjoy him.” I thought it was fascinating to watch some of his little antics. 

My goal and focus was different from most everyone else. I chose to be entertained by this person, and others chose to be annoyed.

Think of Jim from The Office, he chose to be entertained by Dwight, his coworker, and if you ever watched, The Office, Dwight did some outrageous things. 

When you can choose to be entertained, to look at the other person as amusing, it changes the energy and that is the point.

You might view it as an experiment. Once you do that, the pressure is off. You are simply conducting a study and you watch to see what happens. 

Try it out. It could be with a difficult coworker, it could be with a person at home, it could be with the spouse of your friend. Difficult people can be found everywhere. 

Try to be entertained and on Thursday I will have two more ideas that you can try.

We are going to turn Cranky Coworker Day around, into something amusing and even entertaining.

Dr. Paul

When You Choose To See The Good In Others,

You End Up Finding The Good In Yourself