DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE AT WORK
How many people have trouble dealing with difficult people at work? You want to do what is right and godly, but you also don't want to be mistreated or used. Maybe other employees put you down or are very condescending, acting like you don't know anything. It could be that because you try to be honest, refrain from gossip, and do what is right, co-workers think of you as being self-righteous or religious. I have had plenty of relationship challenges in my forty years in the work force, and still do, as I write this.
Do other employees know you are a Christian? That makes it even more difficult because they will probably expect a higher level of character and if you "blow it" badly, they might come down on you for your inconsistent behavior.
So, how do you deal with these challenges? There are several steps that I am learning that I would like to share with you.
1. Don't allow yourself to take part in gossip, rumors, or negative talk about other employees or the company. It is very easy to get caught up in this. Simply say you have other things to do and walk away.
2. Try to not allow your thoughts to focus on the negative traits of the ones who are giving you problems. Try to see the good in them.
3. Seek to understand them by discussing things with a good listening ear.
4. Don't shy away from expressing yourself to them. This is hard for many people, but if it is not done, the other person will keep doing what annoys you. Stand your ground! It is not unspiritual to be assertive! It is not necessarily spiritually minded to be passive, tolerant, or allow yourself to be put down, used, intimidated, mistreated, or made fun of. You may need to write down and plan ahead how you are going to deal with a particular person, or what you are going to say.
5. Continue to work on better communication. Many problems are not with people, but rather are caused by poor communication and misunderstandings.
6. Try your best to work things out with the other person one on one, before going to the boss or human resources.
When doing these steps, keep asking yourself if you are in any way contributing to the problem. We all make mistakes. I believe these six steps, not in any specific order, will help keep one's Christian testimony intact and will make you feel good about yourself. Try them and see how they work. Ask God for wisdom, guidance, and courage to do what needs to be done. You don't have to allow someone else to make your day at work miserable or stressful. And these types of problems are not going to just go away. Pray about the situation and the person, but also plan a course of action.
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