Dealing with Difficult People
I am a huge fan of NBC's sitcom The Office. Even if you've never seen the show, you have probably heard of the blunders of the paper (and now printer) company's regional manager, Michael Scott (Steve Carell). Many situations in this workplace comedy can ring true to your own workplace.
I caught the episode from season four called "Launch Party" on TV a few days ago, and it reminded me of one of those "true life" workplace situations. Angela Martin (Angela Kinsey) is an accountant at Dunder Mifflin. She is a by the book, no nonsense kind of woman who only seems to smile when talking about her many cats, Harry Connick, Jr. or in vague terms about her sometimes love interest, salesman/beet farmer extraordinaire Dwight Shrute (Rainn Wilson). Angela is extremely stern and bossy to her fellow coworkers, especially those who are also on the company's Party Planning Committee.
Phyllis Vance (Phyllis Smith) is a sweet, softspoken saleswoman who suffers under the wrath of Party Planning Committee Chair Angela. Before the start of a party to celebrate the launch of Dunder Mifflin's new Web site, Phyllis decides to Google "how to deal with difficult people" for some tips on what to do with the ever-demanding Angela. Phyllis tries to calmly talk with Angela after she misspells a word on a banner and brings the wrong kind of utensils, but to no avail -- Angela is as mean and demeaning as ever. The only thing that seems to work is when Phyllis crumbles a bunch of Post-It notes into a ball and throws them at Angela's head.
Post-It note ball throwing aside, what tips and tricks do you use to deal with difficult people in the workplace?