How to work with challenging people

How to work with challenging people

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If you want to get and keep a good career related job, you need to work with all sorts of people, some of those might be particularly hard to get along with.

Life is too short for drama, so in this article I’ll be sharing 3 tips you can use to avoid it creeping into your work life.

For many of us, we’re first exposed to working with others that are different to us when we have to do group assignments at university. We’ve all been a part of a difficult group, where it probably would have been easier to do the work alone, if you didn’t do that anyway.

1: Look at what you have in common

If you’re working with a person whose personality challenges your patience, it’s easy to get caught up in the things about them that irritate you.

Try looking for the things in common you have and make those what you focus on instead. You’ll find that the more you focus on these things you have in common, the less bothered you’ll be by the differences.

2: Focus on what you both have to achieve

Focus on the reasons you’re all there together, you’re not working with these people because you’re friends, so you don’t have to pretend you are. You also don’t have to try to be friends or feel bad about telling them to do the work they need to

If you have to deliver some project on time, quality and budget, that’s three important things you all have in common.

3: Be Patient

You’ll still face challenges with people you have to work with, and that’s OK. Sometimes you might just have to suck it up and just be patient.
If you think this is harsh, then bear in mind that one of the biggest challenges for managers is people.

What kind of team member you want to be for your manager? If that’s a hard choice for you to make, consider which one you think is more likely to get you invited to work on future projects and face promotion opportunities. Working well with others is a clear and effective, and at times not so easy, way to show this.

Remember why you’re on the team…everyone can be replaced, including you

One of the most valuable things I learned about working with people was to focus on how I could make positive contributions towards the team, and nothing else. I wanted to do all I could to avoid getting caught up in personal issues with others.

Teamwork in the real world is different to the group work we did at university and even more different to friendship groups we have outside both.

You might find others are difficult to work with and that’s OK. Before you get too bothered by others, look in the mirror and ask yourself what do you think others would say about how you are to work with and how you can improve.


  • Look at what you have in common and you’ll notice the differences a lot less
  • Focussing on what you have to achieve together is the one thing that can make you all succeed
  • Being patient is easier said than done, but if you can do it, it will make your time much easier on that team
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I have a few different backgrounds, but all of them have me focused on my passion, helping young people succeed in their careers.