Asshole at work

Dealing with difficult people can be very stressful. They make the work environment negative and toxic and uncomfortable to function in. Here are a few simple and effective tips to avoid getting sucked into a negative situation at work.

How To Respond To An Asshole At Work

Assholes at work will attack you with their criticism, negativity and unsolicited advice. Your typical reaction would be to either counter attack or get defensive and apologetic. The first tip I suggest you try when confronted with an asshole is to neutralize the situation. Acknowledge their point of view and thank them for sharing their opinion. When you address the matter in a neutral way they will have nothing left to do but move on. The situation will automatically end.  

When People At Work Behave Like Pigs

PigAt work, you might encounter a person who is not behaving or speaking to you in the manner that you expect. This often leads to disappointment. The key to managing a difficult person in the work situation is to recognize that people can be like pigs. They will do what comes true to their nature and will not change according to your expectations. It only makes sense then, to harbour no expectations from them and therefore to avoid being disappointed and upset by their behaviour. When you encounter a badly behaved or badly spoken colleague at work, remember that their behaviour is out of your control so don’t take it personally. A pig can only grunt. 


Don’t Take On Board Other People’s Negativity

negativityA great tip to dealing with harsh and negative people, especially if it’s your boss, is to avoid internalizing their mean and critical words. A simple stress management tool that works is to visualize a protective cloak or an invisible shield around you, this is an emotional guard that will allow their critical and barbed words to bounce off you. This will not only help you create a stronger mindset but will also trick your brain into responding in a desirable manner. This simple yet powerful tool will help you lower your stress levels and the resulting stress hormones, avoid unnecessary energy expenditure and stay balanced emotionally even in the face of conflict.


Remove Yourself From The Toxic Work Environment

An equally potent stress management tool to use in an encounter with a negative, toxic or volatile person at work is to detach yourself as soon as you can. When the situation is escalating, take a pause, disconnect the call, call time out for a moment, and walk away. Step outside, take a few slow deep breaths and click the reset button on your emotions. This will help you detox as well as allow that space to cleanse so that you can re-enter your workspace feeling renewed and unaffected by the toxic person. 

Responding To Toxic People

ToxicA great way to diffuse the rantings of a negative person is to paraphrase what the person is saying to you. This is a great mediation tool that helps you understand why they are being negative, where they are coming from and what they are trying to say. It also lets them know that they are being heard. Paraphrasing works well if someone is being passive-aggressive or sarcastic. Interpret the message behind their sarcasm and clarify with them if that is what they are really trying to get across. In this way, they can no longer hide behind their barbs and the real issue has to get addressed.

Be More Assertive

If someone is attacking you and there is some truth in what your attacker is accusing you of, defend yourself with ‘positive affirmation’. This means that you acknowledge what is correct in the accusation and your role in it, at the same time debunk what is incorrect and follow it up with a positive statement on what you are doing to ameliorate the situation. For example, if someone tells you that you are always late, you can acknowledge that you have been late on a few occasions, not always and that you are working on being punctual by eliminating the factors that are causing your tardiness. In this way, you are stating your standpoint without being beaten down by the criticism and negativity. You can assert yourself without being aggressive, defensive or negative.

These are quick effective ways to deal with assholes at work. If you add them to your repertoire of tools to deal with unpleasant people at work, you will very quickly find yourself devoid of having to deal with toxic people. 

If toxic people at work are causing you stress, why not organise your complimentary stress management strategy session.

Find out if you are passive, assertive or aggressive and what you can do to support your behaviour.

If toxic people at work are causing you stress, why not organise your complimentary stress management strategy session.

About the Author:

Barbara Clifford (The Time Tamer) is a time management strategist and stress management practitioner based in Alice Springs, Australia.  She has spent over 20 years working in time precious and stressful industries such as film, hospitality and marketing.  She has always had a burning passion for creating order and making sense of things.

She is on a mission is to become the no.1 resource to help people unclutter the chaos and break free from the shackles of overwhelm so that they wake each day inspired and motivated to work in peak performance and to live on purpose. Barbara is known around Australia for her training, coaching, online programmes, webinars and as a guest speaker.

Her professional experience has included contracts with small business, Not For Profits, Aboriginal Organisations, Media, Marketing, Aged Care, Universities, Health Services and Cruise Ships.