How to Handle Difficult Colleagues or Bosses at Work 

People say that you should put your best behavior at work. That’s because your behavior and attitude can cost you dearly. You may lose your job, your only source of livelihood. Imagine what will happen then. You may not have enough money to pay rent, settle credit card debt, buy groceries, etc. On top of that, if you encounter difficult people at work, the magnitude of the challenge becomes double. 

Difficult people may appear in the workplace in various forms. For example, some may be highly dominating, while others can be infuriating bullies. They may also appear in your life as demanding bosses or terrible coworkers. 

Managing these kinds of difficult people is a skill you need to adopt. Otherwise, you can’t survive in this brutal corporate world. 

Tips to deal with difficult coworkers at work

Here are a few tips for dealing with a difficult coworker at your workplace.

Discuss with your friend. 

Your friend knows you very well. Most importantly, your best friend loves you. So feel free to share your thoughts and opinions with your friend without any inhibition. Since your friend doesn’t work in the same organization, they can give you an unbiased opinion about the whole situation at your workplace. Explain what’s bothering you. Share your problem with your friend and seek support. You might get expert advice on how to deal with difficult colleagues at work. 

Dont react abruptly 

 Watch your mouth and behave in a professional manner. Don’t say anything you will regret later. Look at your body language as well. Avoid personal attacks. If a colleague’s behavior has made you upset, try to find out the reason behind it. That might help you understand if you are overreacting.   

Be calm and composed. 

Remain calm and composed. This is a professional place. Impulsive behavior, heated arguments, and frequent outbursts would not take you anywhere. On the contrary, it may lead to HR-related issues. If things get out of control, you may even lose your job. So, what should we do in this situation?

Try to avoid situations or a difficult colleague that trigger your temper. Take deep breaths or go for a short walk before reacting. Practice meditation as well to tame your temper. 

Confront the issues head-on. 

Are you sure there is no miscommunication between you and your coworker? Instead of cursing or hurling abuses at your coworker, why don’t you look at the problem, find out the possible solutions, and fix a meeting with your nemesis? 

Have an open and honest discussion with your co-workers. Don’t hold any grudge in your heart. That won’t lead to a fruitful conversation. One simple meeting can do wonders for your professional life.   

Listen to your coworker’s version with a compassionate heart. Try to put yourself in their position and consider what you would have done. Would you have behaved differently? It may also be that your coworker does not know how their behavior affects you. Please focus on the minute observations instead of judging them. 

Report the matter to your manager.

This is your last option. If your coworker doesn’t change, it’s time to report the matter to the manager or people in leadership positions. Now, the question is how should you approach your manager? 

First, be calm and composed. Note down what you wish to tell your manager. Speak logically. Explain how your co-worker’s difficult behavior is affecting your performance and other team members. Give probable solutions as well. 

It’s best if you have enough data to back up your speech. If you can, try to record your coworker’s bad attitude. You can put this forward as your evidence. 

Stop taking anything personally. 

If someone is always disrespectful and rude, then that’s their problem. It means the person is genuinely unhappy and in a low-life condition. It’s not something to do with you. 

In that case, you can request your manager to change your department within the organization. Set boundaries and limit your interaction with the difficult person as much as possible. 


If the situation doesn’t change despite your best efforts, consider finding a new job. Yes, it’s a difficult call. But sometimes, you need to choose between mental peace and the harassment you are going through. Start looking for a new job. Although getting out of your comfort zone is tough, changing your work environment can make you feel better. You need to leave that toxic environment as soon as possible. 

About The Author:  

Lyle Solomon has extensive legal experience, in-depth knowledge, and experience in consumer finance and writing. He has been a member of the California State Bar since 2003. He graduated from the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, California, in 1998 and currently works for the Oak View Law Group in California as a principal attorney.