Friday, February 28th, 2014
Sounds weird, right? You have a co-worker who drives you nuts. But instead of trying to win a battle with that person–whether it’s in the open or not–just give up. Surrender. By knowing the toxic types, you can let them do their thing without letting their behavior interrupt your day or upset you.
I became a big fan of Judith Orloff, M.D., after I saw her TED talk on surrender. When I saw her new book comes out in April, I was psyched. The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life is a great read for anyone interested in the topic. And check out this glowing recommendation from Marianne Williamson: “One of the most important changes we can make is to shift from seeing surrender as sign of defeat, to seeing it as a land of victory inside ourselves. In The Ecstasy of Surrender, Dr. Judith Orloff offers beautiful guidance and insight into making the switch.”
Below, Orloff encourages us to get along with our co-workers at work by identifying their personality type and just giving in and letting go of the issues we have with them. Here are five difficult people and communication strategies for each one.
Gossipy busybodies delight in talking about others behind their backs, putting them down and spreading harmful rumors. They also love to draw others into their toxic conversations. Start by letting go of your need to please everyone or control what they say. Then be direct. Say, “Your comments are inconsiderate and hurtful. How would you like people talking about you like that?” You can also refuse to participate by simply changing the subject. Don’t share intimate information with gossip mongers. And finally, don’t take gossip personally. Realize that gossips aren’t happy or secure. Do what you can to rise to a higher place, and ignore them.
Rage-a-holics deal with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating or criticizing. Let go of your reactivity. Take a few short breaths to relax your body. Count to 10. Pause before you speak. If they’re spewing verbal venom at you, imagine that you’re transparent and their words are going right through you. To disarm an anger addict, acknowledge their position, and then politely say you have a slightly different approach you’d like to share. Request a small, doable change that can meet your need. Then clarify how it will benefit the relationship. Finally, empathize. Ask yourself what pain or inadequacy might be making this person act so angry.
These workplace types are world-class blamers, martyrs and drama queens. They know how to make you feel terrible about something by pressing your insecurity buttons. Start by surrendering the notion that you have to be perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, so if the guilt tripper is scolding you, you can simply apologize or take responsibility, and that will shut them down. If you need to, find a safe place to cry. Tears will cleanse the stress and help you heal. Also, know your guilt buttons. If there’s something you feel bad about, you can work on being compassionate with yourself so you’ll feel stronger when this difficult coworker tries to push that particular button. Finally, set limits with the guilt tripper. Tell them you can see their point of view, but that it hurts your feelings when they say those things, and you’d be grateful if they stopped saying it.
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