We have all encountered difficult people on the job. The construction industry attracts many individuals, many of whom may not always see eye to eye. Add a global pandemic to the equation and the health and financial concerns that go along with this, and you could be looking at a really tough work environment.

Whether you are in a hiring or managerial position, keep in mind the following tips so that you can handle these scenarios fairly and productively.

Practice Empathy

You never know what someone is going through. Remember that everyone is unique and that some people deal with stress differently than others. If someone is constantly losing their temper over the smallest things, it may be because they have physical pain that you cannot see or because they are dealing with a challenging personal issue you know nothing about.

Try not to internalize how someone might make you feel, but instead be open-minded and compassionate. People often mirror one another’s responses; if someone is angry, but you respond in a calm manner, it will likely help them relax as well. Otherwise, you risk escalating an already tense situation.

Just Listen

Many times, people just want someone to listen to them. We all have stress in our lives, but it can be misguided toward others when we do not deal with it appropriately. Letting your team know that you are available for them to voice their grievances can help them effectively deal with some of their personal issues and, hopefully, see things a little more clearly.

It is also essential to practice “active listening” techniques when someone is speaking. Maintaining eye contact, nodding, and acknowledging someone’s statements can go a long way in making an individual feel heard and respected.

Have a Healthy Outlet

Sometimes, no matter what you do, there will be a person who is hell-bent on making your job incredibly difficult. Maybe they are constantly in a bad mood, exceedingly demanding, or otherwise impossible to be around. Regardless of the matter, it is essential to your own wellbeing that you have a healthy way to deal with the stress.

This is incredibly important for anyone with a demanding job—particularly a physically demanding one like construction. Make sure that you get enough exercise and fresh air. Meditation can also work wonders for clearing your mind and improving your perspective. Remember, you cannot care for others unless you care for yourself first.

One Final Word

There are always going to be difficult people in this world. You might not be able to change them, but you do have control over how you react to them. Keeping a calm demeanor and continually showing respect to others—as well as yourself—will make a world of difference.


Photo by Frank Busch on Unsplash