Most people, at some point, have to work with difficult people, whether it's a boss, a peer or a client.
Here are 4 strategies to help you do so gracefully:
1. Examine yourself first
Ask how you might be contributing to the issue at hand. Is any part of the problem in how you are reacting? If you find it challenging to be objective, ask an unbiased co-worker for feedback.
2. Show empathy
Instead of being defensive, see the difficult person as human. Try to understand where they're coming from. Perhaps they need to be seen or recognized. Even if you still believe they’re in the wrong, how can you create a win-win situation when you see where they’re coming from?
3. Don’t take it personally
You likely aren't the cause of someone else's demeanor. Someone might be behaving in a way you dislike, not because of you, but because they are struggling with something totally unrelated.
4. Find the solution
Fight the urge to flee. Instead, challenge yourself to be constructive and solutions-oriented. It might be hard, but if you approach the issue with curiosity, ask open-ended questions, and listen without judgment, the answer may be simpler than expected.