In different phases of life people that you come across will be annoying, whining and troublemakers. These are big emotional drainers to leave you overwhelmed and exhausted. To reduce these unwanted life disruptors, it is important to know how to deal with them. Dealing with troublemakers can be very annoying and at times frustrating, as they tend to disrupt the work atmosphere and affect others performance. Here are some tips on dealing with troublemakers.
Identify the troublemakers
The first and the foremost obvious thing to do is to identify the troublemakers at your workplace. Some people openly harass other coworkers in the office just to spoil others work and grab attention for themselves. It is very easy to spot such people and once you do, make all efforts to stay away from them. However, some people are very sneaky in their trouble making. They are skilled in disrupting the working environment without letting anyone know that they themselves were responsible for it. It will take some time to identify such people, but once you are able to single out the troublemakers in your office you can take concrete action against them. The best course of action is to stop giving them the attention they want and it is more than likely that the trouble making will stop.
Do not react
You should try to find out why that person behaves in such a way. There could be many reasons for his troublesome behavior. Some people feel that only by interrupting others during presentations or speaking out in between meetings will they get attention and praise from others. What they don’t realize is that this does nothing but give them negative attention. The best reaction towards a troublemaker is no reaction at all. When they realize that no one is paying attention to them, the trouble making may stop. However, even if the troublemaker turns more aggressive, you don’t have to react to his actions. Stay calm and don’t give any emotional responses as you will only end up fueling his negative energy.
Document all trouble making evidence
Once you have identified the troublemakers at your office, your next step should be to document all incidents of trouble making. Note down all minute details such as the date, time, project, nature of disruption, name of the troublemaker, and also names of other coworkers who witnessed the incident. For example, if the troublemaker interrupts you while you are giving an important presentation or is interfering in your working space such that you are not able to concentrate on your work, you need to note all these incidents carefully, including all minute details. You can also take help from your coworkers as obviously the antics of the troublemaker do not affect you alone. Having more people on your side, who are also ready to stand as witness, when it comes to confronting the troublemaker, is always advantageous.
Speak with the troublemaker
Your next step should be to speak with the troublemaker and let him know how his behavior is affecting your performance. You can use the document evidence as proof to show him how and when his trouble making has caused inconvenience to you and other employees. You can also schedule a meeting with the Human Resources department of your office and show them the documented proof of his unprofessional behavior. If the troublemaker is your subordinate, you can make him understand that such behavior will not be tolerated. You can also give him a warning saying that his behavior will be monitored for a period of time and if he does not mend his ways, strict action will be taken against him.
What do you do if even after interacting with the troublemaker or raising your concerns to the Human Resources, there is no change in the troublemaker’s behavior? If you are the troublemaker’s colleague you can ask your manager to either change your project/department or his. If that also does not seem to work, considering options outside is also not a bad idea. On the other hand, if you are in a superior position, then you have the option of terminating such an employee as you can not afford to let his behavior negatively affect other employees performance. However, always remember to keep this as a last resort, only after having tried all the above methods to deal with the troublemaker.
How to deal with whiners
Whiners are another category of troublemakers. We all whine and complain a little about some things in life. However, if the whining goes beyond a certain limit, it can become unbearable and leave you emotionally drained. Here are a few points on how to deal with whiners.
Assess the situation
Try to find out first why the person is whining and what you can do to make the situation better. Some people whine because they are not in a healthy state of mind or are going through an emotional upheaval in their lives. Whining is a way for them to let out their anger and frustration on others. On the other hand, some people are insecure, have attention problems, or suffer from self-pity, which make them feel like nothing good can ever happens to them. This makes them complain about things around them all the time. If it is a workplace situation, then also you need to assess the impact of whining on other employees as whining may have a negative influence on others.
When someone is whining or complaining to you, your initial reaction is to put the blame back on them. However, this does nothing but feed their negativity and you too end up whining. Try to be compassionate and show sympathy towards the whiner. He or she may indeed be going through a difficult period of time and you can make them feel at ease just by showing that you understand their situation. Don’t try to be sarcastic or give any solution to their problems; all they need is a little empathy and someone to listen to their woes. Even if they are complaining about things which seem trivial to you, remember that for them it might be a huge problem. You need to be very patient through all this as it may take some time for the whining to stop or even reduce.
Know what not to say
Being compassionate does help, however, you need to also know the things that you must never say to whiners. Cheering up whiners does not work at all, so refrain yourself from saying things like Cheer up Time heals all wounds, because if you do so, the whiner will only end up complaining more to convince you that he is indeed facing some grave issues. Also, don’t ever think of suggesting solutions to his/her problems; the whiner is not asking for a solution. You may suggest any number of solutions but the whiner will continue to prove to you that none of the solutions will ever work for him because he himself is convinced that there is no solution to his problem. Never ever try to ignore or walk away from whiners as this makes them complain about people not wanting to talk to them and thus starts a vicious cycle.
Use drama and humor
Giving a dramatic response to the whiners’ complaints can work in some cases. Exaggerate each of the whinerâs complaints to such an extent that even the whiner will realize his/her complaints are not that serious. So, the next time a whiner comes to you complaining about something, make a terrified face and paint an over-the-top picture of the problem. Say things like Oh my God! What are we going to do now?â and be very dramatic and hysterical. More often that not, the whiner will also see humor in the situation and realize his whining was baseless. However, in some cases, the whiner may get more annoyed, so you need to be careful. Alternatively, when a whiner comes to you, you can pretend to be paying attention to him/her and empathizing with him, while in reality you may be cracking a joke in your head or remembering a funny incident etc. This will make the whiner feel that you are listening to him and also will help you preserve your sanity.
If you have whiners at your workplace, they may distract other employees and inject negative energy in the office. Find out first the extent to which the whining is affecting other employees. Observe other employee’s attitude and reactions towards the whiner. Note all these things down and talk to the whiner about how his whining is affecting others and encourage him to rectify his behavior. If there is no improvement, you can isolate the whiner from other employees. While this may not have any effect on the whiner, it will at least give other employees a whining-free atmosphere to work in. Suggest counseling and/or anger management classes for the whiner and if there is still no improvement, you can always take a decision to terminate such an employee.
How to deal with annoying people
Apart from whiners and marked troublemakers, you will find annoying people everywhere; in the workplace, home, college or outside. While strangers may not annoy you so much, there are co- workers and family members who can be a real nuisance and you just have to devise ways to deal with them somehow. Take control of annoying situations by following these simple and effective steps.
Be polite and wait
Some people may not be as annoying as you assume. Maybe it is your attitude or behavior towards them that sort of encourages them to be annoying towards you. The trick here is to assess the situation and be polite to them to see if they change. Set a waiting period and try different tactics of listening to them and dealing with them to see if they will leave you alone without much trouble. If this is not happening, you can slowly discourage them and shift your politeness to a more stern and detached demeanor. This will make them think as to what has caused a shift in your behavior and they might just stop annoying your permanently. Of course, this strategy may not work for all, because annoying people are far too annoying to be bothered by your attitude change.
Time to let them know
If the annoying continues without interruption, it’s time to let them know that they are no longer welcome. There is no need to say on the face. Drop hints initially by pretending to be not interested in them and using your histrionics to the maximum effect to convey your irritation and annoyance as well. Give the person some time to understand and change accordingly. Most people who have a self esteem will stop at that. Others who have an innate dislike towards you will take the cue and would want to annoy you more. This is the time to talk on their face. Let them know that their behavior is no longer acceptable and you have better things to do and deadlines to meet rather than waste time talking to them. You need not be rude as such. Keep a stern face and convey your distaste toward them.
Ignore them if they don’t leave you alone
It’s time to ignore them if they don’t stop annoying you. Carry on with your work without listening to their banter after you have warned them sufficiently. There is no need to be good now as you have already given them enough chances to understand and change their behavior. Ignoring them when they are around could make them feel unimportant and this will make them stop annoying you. If you have a cabin, keep the door closed when they approach, so that they do not get to annoy you. At home, you can disregard their attempts to annoy you by behaving as if you have not seen or heard what they have done. Ignore them completely so that they cannot carry on with their activities that annoy you. This can sometimes make them revengeful and you must be either prepared to meet with more annoying activities or complete stopping of the annoyance that bothered you for so many days.
Be rude and curt
Of course, there is a limit to ignoring people and their activities, especially if they do it right in front of you to attract your attention. This can get on your nerves and in such cases, you have to react firmly and rudely. Silence can sometimes be taken as condescendence and inability or fear to react and if you have accidentally conveyed such a message to the person, he will test your patience to the maximum and do everything possible to make matters worse and make you react. Be very rude and shout if you must. Let him know what you are capable of. If it is a colleague who has been annoying you despite repeated warnings, react in front of all your colleagues who are aware of the situation. This should give him a jolt and stop annoying you.
Accept them or leave them
Whilst most people would stop annoying you after a violent outburst, even if it was a fake outburst intended to scare the person, there are people with nerves of steel who can get back at you with even more severity and offense. There is nothing that you can do to change such people. Train your mind to accept them as such and stop reacting. They might just get bored and stop annoying you. If this is not the case, you can leave the person if it is a personal relationship or think of shifting jobs if the annoyance is beyond what you can take.