No matter how successful we are in our career, we often have to work with difficult people who rarely display respect for their colleagues.
Kanye West hit the headlines when he protested against Beck’s Album of The Year win at this year’s Grammy award ceremony. Kanye declared: “Beck needs to respect artistry and he should have given his award to Beyoncé”. Many have fired back at Kanye with criticism, noting that he is the one who is disrespecting artistry by failing to recognize Beck’s talent and work. In response to the incident, Beck graciously remarked “I was just so excited he (Kanye) was coming up. He deserves to be on stage as much as anybody. How many great records has he put out in the last five years, right?” And when asked about West’s comments that Beyoncé should have won, Beck replied, “Absolutely,” adding, “I thought she was going to win. Come on, she’s Beyoncé!” Beck’s classy responses exemplify the most effective way to deal with a difficult colleague: with grace.
We can all relate to having to deal with difficult people and their strong opinions in the workplace. Do you have a coworker or colleague like Kanye – the person who shoots down your promotion, or fails to recognize your accolades because they don’t agree with your vision? If so, here are some quick tips on how to take home the prize and deal with a difficult colleague with respect like Beck:
Try To Understand Where They Are Coming From
This advice is easy to give, but hard to implement. It requires deep breaths, some tongue biting, and a lot of understanding. Ask them for their opinion, and ask what they would do differently. Make them feel heard, and more importantly, listened to. Once they feel confident that you appreciate their standpoint and will take their ideas on board, they are more likely to buy into your future success.
Demonstrate That You Admire Their Work
By recognizing a colleague’s accolades and talents, you are demonstrating that you have respect for their achievements. This conversation has the potential to completely change your work dynamic. A colleague who feels valued will be more likely to see value in you and your work.
Ask Them For Help
You may have completely different opinions on how projects should be completed, or you may have completely different approaches to handling situations. Asking them for advice or contribution on something you are working on shows that you recognize their strengths and feel that they could offer you a new perspective and improve your output.
Don’t React Emotionally
We spend so much time at the office, it’s hard not to become emotionally attached to your work and career achievements. When you feel that you are being disrespected by a colleague, take a time-out, go for a walk, find a trusted co-worker to vent to, and cool off. Write an email detailing what you really want to say, then edit, edit, and edit some more. Be sure that your tone is respectful and non-abrasive, then save it as a draft to send at the end of the day. Take a breather, reassess the situation, and approach It with a clearer mind. The goal is to get this person to respect you, not to give them more ammunition to criticize you.
Be Their Cheerleader
When they have a moment in the spotlight, be the first to stand up and clap. By taking the high road and commending a difficult colleague’s success, you will gain their respect and the respect of others. Chances are, you are all working towards the same goal. Praise them for their accomplishments, tell them they deserve the recognition, and let them have their moment.
Accept That You Can’t Win Them All
If all else fails, and you’ve tried your best to connect with a difficult co-worker, accept that you can acheieve success, but you won’t always get the respect you deserve from your colleagues. Rise above it, like Beck. After all, your successes are your own! Kanye didn’t win an award for his music this year, and certainly won’t be winning any for sportsmanship either.
For more on how to deal with difficult coworkers, click here.