The Cost Of Difficult People At Work
Let’s do a little head count. Think of all the people you work with. How many of them do you consider “difficult”? If you are like most people, there’s at least one particular person that comes to mind: “Yes, John, definitely John is a pain in the neck.” If you’ve been well cursed, maybe Mary is difficult, too. Working with one or even two difficult people is bad enough. But it gets even worse. Now think. How many people around you are difficult sometimes? What? Is your answer most of them? If so, you’re normal, completely normal. Difficult people and the sometimes difficult are all over the place. None of us is perfect, and all of us are difficult at times to someone. Psst! That means even you.
Unfortunately, difficult people cost us a lot. Yes, they cost money in terms of lost time and productivity. But perhaps more importantly, they cause you to lose your mind … or feel like it, anyway. It’s easy to become a victim of difficult people, and even to become difficult oneself as a result. It’s easy to fall into victimhood, to suffer the slings and arrows of the difficult, but you can do something. You can keep your sanity and increase productivity by managing difficult people so the damage they cause is reduced. And when the stars are in proper alignment, you may even be able to turn their negative behavior into constructive, useful behavior.
The Cost Of Mismanaging Difficult Employees
Since you are reading this book, you obviously have a
very personal interest in managing difficult people.
So, let’s start by talking about how a difficult person
First, let’s talk about your mental and physical health. OK, you aren’t likely to go loony on us because of a difficult person (although it has been known to happen). Unfortunately, it only takes one very difficult person to affect your enjoyment of your job, your stress level, and your ability to do your work.
That’s serious. If you have an extremely difficult employee, co-worker, or boss, each time you deal with his or her difficult actions, your heart rate goes up, your blood pressure escalates, and all manner of other unpleasant things happen inside your body. That’s not healthy. Difficult people can make you feel like crap.
Do you leave work muttering to yourself about what John the Difficult or Mary the Naysayer did today? How about Bob the Backroom Politicker? Difficult people not only intrude upon your workday, but can also follow you to your car, get in the passenger side, and drive home with you. If they are really bad, they can even climb into bed with you, snoring their difficult snores, keeping you up all night.
Not only do difficult people have a nasty effect on your physical and mental health, but they also cost you in terms of being able to do your own job properly. If you spend time everyday fixing the damage done by a difficult person, you are not doing the other things you need to do as part of your job. That can make you look bad to your boss. At minimum, losing time to difficult people is frustrating.
Convinced yet that you need to reduce the costs of difficult people? Here’s a list of
costs you pay personally to the difficult person. Difficult people often …
- adversely affect your mental health.
- adversely affect your physical health.
- reduce your enjoyment of your job.
- make you look bad as a manager or employee.
- suck time out of your busy day.
- interfere with promotions or pay increases.
As someone once said, “It ain’t pretty.” The watch word is don't delay. In future articles we'll give you specific tools to deal with difficult employees.