#41 Dealing With Tricky People

Season #4

Show notes: Episode #41

Dealing With Tricky People

In work and life, you are sure to encounter tricky people at times. I have personally experienced people who have different types of attitudes and beliefs to my own, and this has caused friction. I’m sure at times there have been some people who have thought of me as a tricky person to work with too!

In this episode I want to talk about the four main types of tricky people you are likely to encounter in the workplace, and share some strategies to help you recognise what is going on so you can address these interpersonal challenges.

Conflict at work is a topic that comes up often, whether it is a toxic culture, where there is a lot of criticism and blame. The reality is, to deal with these situations effectively, we need to recognise what is going on, and be able to identify when action needs to be taken, or when we can let things go.

So what are some examples of tricky people in an aged care setting?

  • Maybe your colleague is lacking motivation and not keen to try new strategies?
  • Some people might take too much ownership, and won’t allow you to have your input? This can be very challenging when you are enthusiastic, and need to work as a team, but the other person won’t allow your contribution.
  • Others might have personal issues outside of work, and it is impacting their mood and performance? You may or may not know the reason behind this. Sometimes boundaries are beneficial, sometimes having an understanding of what is going on helps.
  • Maybe your issues are with management, in that you feel unsupported, there’s not enough time, and they expect too much?

Regardless of the situation, it is helpful to remember that you can’t be friends with everyone – but you can notice everyone, be friendly to everyone, make room for everyone, cheer on everyone and  empathise with everyone.

You don’t need to be best buddies with everyone, but when you can welcome everyone, acknowledge everyone, and be friendly to everyone, it doesn’t cost you anything.

When you spread loving kindness, you attract loving kindness. The more we spread that message, loud and clear, the more it will be reciprocated. And when it’s not, keep in mind it is not your responsibility how people respond to it. That is beyond your control.

Now let’s look at the four types of tricky people.

1) Backstabbers: someone who spreads rumours, tries to make themselves look good at others’ expense, the person who always complains and acts like it is always someone else’s fault

What are the consequences of working with a backstabber? Rumours will circulate and they can be damaging. In this case, you need to act on it sooner rather than later, to escalate those concerns.

2) Bullies & tyrants: someone who is always putting you down, can be quite nasty and mean, they may not always pass on critical information, they always want to do it their way.

These people can affect your confidence and happiness. If you are being bullied, it can cause you to question yourself. There is power in calling out bullying for what it is and this must also be done as soon as possible.

3) Avoiders and high & mighties: they make you feel inferior, promise the world, but deliver little.

Reassure them you like them, not for what they do, but who they are, but if they are not keeping promises, call out the behavior and the impact it has on you, setting time limits on deliverables if required.

4) Compulsive, impulsive & poor communicators: they quickly escalate to arguing point, and always have to win. They may fly off the handle and say inappropriate things.

These tricky people may in fact have social anxiety themselves, so it can be helpful to be kind and affirming, and to be friendly with them to encourage more positive interactions.

When it comes to the tricky people in our lives, they may not always need to be called out. It is helpful to have strategies that will help you decide what type of behaviour you are prepared to let slip, what type you will not put up with.

For example, threatening and damaging behaviour must always be addressed. It is never okay to bully.

While toxic cultures can often be improved with better communication, especially when you remember to highlight the positives as well as the negatives.

In this episode you will learn:

  • Why working with tricky people is unavoidable
  • How diversity benefits the workplace
  • What are the four main types of tricky people
  • How we can use strategies to address interpersonal challenges
  • When to call out bad behaviour or let it slide.



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