Ways To Deal With Difficult People in the Workplace
In a perfect world, everybody would get along. But we live in a world scarred by sin. Many of us have to deal with conflict and difficult people at work. But how do you deal with it as a Christian and what responsibility do you have as a believer when it comes to dealing with a difficult coworker?
Take some time to step back and think through the situation. What caused the uproar or your coworker’s negative attitude? Could it be due to extenuating circumstances that demand empathy on your part? Does he or she battle health problems? Could there be something going on at home that has him on edge? Other things like depression, piling debt or a sick family member could contribute to the person you have had trouble with at work.
Think through the process leading up to a dispute or the beginning of a negative colleague relationship. Was there anything you did that could have contributed to it? Not to say you should always blame yourself but scripture does say that our own desires are what causes quarrels and fights among you so it is important that you keep in mind that your own struggles can contribute to a sour business relationship. It is important to remember to look to yourself before shifting all of the blame on someone else. This could be part of the reason for difficulty you are battling at work. A great book that explains this well is When Sinners Say I Doby Dave Harvey.
Overall, humility wins. The balance between standing up for ourselves and loving our neighbor as Christ loves us lies along a fine line. Strive to respond to your coworker with a positive attitude, rather than the same bad attitude. Remember that God wants you to show love to your neighbor no matter what – after all you are an image-bearer of Christ.
Look at Joseph, for example. He was mistreated, misunderstood, and betrayed, yet he humbly continued to serve the Lord – even while in prison! God granted him favor in the eyes of the warden. Yet at the same time, Joseph knew when to stand up for his rights. He told Pharaoh’s cupbearer to show him kindness by mentioning him to Pharaoh so he would let Joseph out of prison. Do you think if Joseph lashed out that God would have worked in the same way? This brings us to the next point…
Do Not Seek Vengeance
God instructs his children in Romans to not repay evil for evil. He speaks strongly, saying vengeance is his to repay – not yours. Your job is to love and show kindness.
If you are struggling with a difficult coworker, seek to show him kindness. Is there something special you can do for him? Bring him a drink from Starbucks or a box of donuts. Hand over a card with some encouragement or a gift card for a nice date with her spouse. Offer to carpool to help cut back on expenses.
Pray for Them
Pray God’s blessings for the person you are struggling with. Ask God to help you to act justly, walk humbly and to love mercy. Pray that God would soften your heart for the person and for him to help you to be a light in that person’s darkness. Perhaps you could even be used to plant a seed of truth or encourage someone back to Christ! The possibilities are endless when the Spirit is involved. Your job is to just live to the best of your ability as God wants you to and to be malleable for the Lord to use for his glory in your life and the lives of others.
Dealing with difficult people in the workplace can be a pain in the neck, but your burden is not as heavy when you seek Christ and his help to see you through the situation.