Compassion sounds a lot easier than it actually is sometimes.  

It is easy enough to be compassionate with someone you love, who is very special in your life… but what about the people you find it difficult to be around?   What about the people in the workplace who seem to push all your buttons??  How do you find ways to respond to them from your heart instead of a knee-jerk reaction?

I’ll be the first to admit that this is a challenging area for me right now, so this blog post is a reminder to myself as much as to anyone else!  After several recent experiences with “difficult people” (for lack of better term), I wrote out a list of positive thoughts and lessons that may also be helpful to you:

– The difficult people in our lives are typically our best teachers.  My difficult people teach me to stop reacting and to instead be in charge of myself and be PROACTIVE.   (Some days this is easier said than done!)

– Difficult people typically are not feeling heard, seen, or supported… and are looking for an acknowledgement of some sort, so give it to them!   If not for their sake, then do it for your own sake because in the end, compassionate acknowledgment makes life easier for YOU too.

Setting boundaries is sometimes the most compassionate thing you can do.  Difficult people often enjoy many one-on-one meetings in the workplace, notice this… this behavior is dangerous to organizations as it can set team members (and others) up against each other!  If you see this behavior over and over, it needs to be addressed directly for the health of the team and the organization.

– Some days we need to just be angry and allow that anger to have a message for us – it always does.  Anger is our fuel to bold, useful action when we act consciously!

– Sometimes it is not a difficult person, just a broken process or misunderstandings.   This happens easily in the workplace when teams can’t seem to work together because one or two people are “being difficult.”  There’s a good chance the problem is a lack of shared vision or that all team members are not clear on the goals or the process.  The lesson here is to look beyond the difficult person and see what the real cause of the issue might be.

What are some of your best practices or recommendations for dealing with difficult people in the workplace?  We can ALL learn from your comments!