10 Ways to Professionally Deal with People Who Don't Understand Working Moms

If you just want to quit read this first.

Dealing with Difficult People at Work
••• Getty Images/mediaphotos

As a Working Mom there many challenges that can pop-up with the people we work with because of the lifestyle we have chosen.  Maybe someone has made too many comments about you needing to leave to get the kids or the amount of phone calls you receive from daycare.  Apparently they don't understand what being Working Mom is all about.  You work and you are a mother.  It is possible to be both, but some people just don't understand.

If you have reached your threshold of tolerance there's no reason to fire off a resignation letter just because you have to work alongside or for difficult employees. In many cases, you can avoid confrontation, and even foster a good working relationship with the most difficult people at any company.

Kill them with kindness

Difficult employees are often abrupt and curt in conversation, and sometimes downright rude and nasty. Despite these negative personality traits, try to be kind and polite in all encounters with difficult employees, especially if they rank higher than you in the company hierarchy.

Try making it a game with yourself, to see how helpful and nice you can be, despite their hostile face. Eventually, their grumpy façade may lighten up, when they find you consistently pleasant to encounter.

Always be honest

The old saying that the truth shall prevail works well when dealing with difficult employees. In fact, if you are honest with people, even the most rude and obnoxious people can't fault you for telling the truth. Even if it means you have to admit a mistake, be up front with difficult coworkers in order to maintain integrity in their eyes.

Go the extra mile

While you don't have to cater to difficult employees, it's wise to show your hard work and efforts to these people. If you don't slack off, they will have nothing to criticize.

Avoid confrontation

Whether it's your evil boss or nasty subordinate, difficult employees often are "difficult" because they are confrontational. To avoid situations where a disagreement will arise, try to quell an argument before it can escalate. This takes emotional intelligence where you can sense the emotions of others and know where your emotions are at in that moment.

For example, if you hear a difficult employee is questioning some sort of company protocol, calmly explain the procedure in a very polite and pleasant way. Even better: ignore it, if you can pretend to be out of earshot.

Stay calm and take a deep breath

Difficult employees often like to push their bosses' or coworkers' buttons. For this reason, you always need to keep your cool, and remain calm when dealing with difficult employees. In fact, try to never raise your voice or even an eyebrow and this will set the tone for any workplace discussion.

Illustrate how to compromise

Often, difficult employees simply want to get their way on a workplace issue or project. For this reason, you have to offer opportunities for compromise to ease the difficult employee's ability to bully or demand to get his or her way.

Never say no

Difficult employees never want to be told they are wrong or that they can't do something. Instead, offer alternatives. For example, if a difficult employee wants to present a protocol to a client in a certain way, say, "I like your idea. What if we tweak it this way?" Tout the difficult employee's efforts and be clear you want to improve on his or her already good idea.

Don't back down

While you don't want to be bullied by difficult employees, you also need to command respect. Always be diplomatic, but firm. Defend yourself, but never raise your voice a decibel. Simply put: don't let them treat you in a disrespectful manner.

Don't hold a grudge

If you have found yourself in a heated confrontation with a difficult employee, once it's over, move on. There is no need to hold a workplace grudge. Often, there will be stressful situations in any workplace environment, but they have to be dealt with. Soon after a resolution is reached, everyone must move on to the task at hand to keep order and stress levels low in a workplace.

Show you're a team player

When a difficult employee sees you are a team player who fosters the advancement of the group and not just yourself, he or she will likely ease up on the personality traits that make the person difficult. In turn, that person will be more likely to try to be a team player as well, following your example.

Edited by Elizabeth McGrory.