Life Skills

The saying ‘kill them with kindness’ isn’t only for corny motivational posters; the message itself can have a huge impact on life in the workplace. Whether you’re working with a rude colleague or facing an awkward misunderstanding over email, dealing with difficult people is a task we’ll all have to face at one stage or another. Instead of flying off the handle, killing the subject with kindness will not only knock them down a post or two, but also a paint you i a positive reflection, thanks to the positive reflection of your own communication abilities. So rip down those motivational posters and put the words into action with the following tips:

Don’t react irrationally

Dealing with difficult colleagues can take its toll emotionally. If it’s been going on for a prolonged amount of time, it’s easy to snap and act to them as they do towards you. When it all gets too much, remind yourself that you are, in fact, the bigger person. Snapping back and being rude to a difficult colleague will only fuel the part of them that makes them act like this in the first place. Remember you’re bigger and better than that – react calmly, with a smile.

I am right, and they are wrong

Genuine kindness doesn’t come from a big ego, and ‘acting’ kind as an end to a means won’t help in the long run. Acting, and not genuinely feeling, will only fuel the anger you feel toward your colleague, because you’ll probably harbour the annoyance for a long time. Instead, it’s important to remember that when it comes down to it, you are in the right and they are in the wrong. And by being polite, calm and professional, you can show the difficult person (and the rest of your colleagues!) that your opinion is valid and rational. This in itself will keep you feeling level-headed.

Detach yourself

A good way to handle your reactions to a difficult colleague is to try and detach yourself from the given situation and attempt to look at it from an outsider’s perspective. If a friend came to you for advice with dealing with a difficult colleague, what advice would you give them? Sometimes it’s easier to dish out advice than it is to follow it, but trying to see from another person’s perspective can give you then insight you need in order to be kind to a difficult person.

Who would you be more likely to work with?

Instead of hitting the roof over a difficult employee, try and consider what type of person you would rather work with. Would it be a rude and difficult employee or a polite, professional and nice one? When you are faced with a difficult colleague, keep this in mind as you respond. Killing them with kindness will not only show them up, but it will show your other colleagues your strengths when it comes to working with people. People would be more likely to want to work with you rather than the rude colleague in the future.

Take it to HR (if you need to)

Sometimes killing people with kindness can only go so far. If a certain person is making your working life extremely difficult, sometimes it’s worth talking to a relevant HR manager or boss for advice or guidance.

Have you ever had a bad experience with a colleague at work? Tell us how you killed them with kindness in the comments below.

Main image credit: Shutterstock


About Ruby Lowe

Ruby is a Senior Account Executive at Link Humans in London.

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