Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Arizona Injury Law Group

We have all known difficult people in our lives, and when it comes to our personal lives, we can choose to be understanding, even when we do not agree, or simply to step away from their presence. We make those choices based on how much we love these people (or not), regardless of their difficult behavior, and what position they have in our lives.

When it comes to the workplace, however, the dynamics of dealing with difficult people can become problematic, especially when our job is on the line. There are ways to deal with these people and keep a level head while doing so. We provide a small list of those possible personalities that you may run into while at work.

  • The Blamer

This is a person who blames everyone for something that went wrong while under his supervision. It will take only one time to deal with this person to know that you will need to keep records of everything said to you about how a project should be done.


Get the project outline committed to paper or in an electronic file. Have the supervisor sign off on it before you get started. While it is aggravating to have to do this, keep a running log of everything done for this project, including who you interacted with, and on what day and time.

If you find that the blamer says one thing on one phone call, then change it for the next call, saying he never said that in the first call, then begin recording the calls. Check first with a lawyer to find out if it is legal to do this in your state. In Arizona, so long as one person in the phone conversation agrees to it (you), then it is legal. You do not need to inform the other person of the recording.

While it is evident that it was said, it also validates that you are not crazy to think he said it when he says he never said that. It gives you peace of mind to know you did not imagine it.

  • The Gossip

Gossips are dangerous people in that they spread tales to other employees, creating a certain hostile working environment against the people being gossiped about. While there may be some truth to the gossip, avoid spreading it, whether it is true or not. Why add further negativity to the issue, especially if it turns out to not be true.

This is also a cautionary tale that you do not want to divulge too much of your life to others at work. While you might want to talk about your garden or your pets, do not talk about your marriage problems, your children, or other more private things. Not everyone at work is your friend.

  • The Exploder

Some people, especially those in a position of power, may abuse this position and feel that yelling at people will get the results the exploder wants. This is rarely the case, and the outcome of such behavior belittle people who are exposed to it daily. Working in fear of the next explosion creates a very hostile environment and can lead to dangerous outcomes where a worker retaliates against the boss.

Use a Calming Approach

Whenever you deal with any of these people, always use a calm and respectful approach to ask questions about the problem and how it can be solved. Refuse to move to the level of the abusive nature of the other person.

If the person becomes truly abusive in his speech, such as negative racial statements, calling you names, yelling at you continually, begin tracking these events and make a complaint to management. While you can be calm, there is only so much you should accept before deciding to fight back. Just make sure you have the evidence you need to make a case of abusive behavior.

If you need help with filing your workers’ compensation claim or have work-related issues for which you need advice, call us at once for a consultation. 602-346-9009.

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