6 Picks: Books That Help You Navigate Challenging Colleagues

6 Picks: Books That Help You Navigate Challenging Colleagues

There will always be people in the workplace with bad attitudes. Many people I know want to change careers solely because they want to flee from a toxic colleague. What a shame to feel you must uproot your career journey just because of a toxic person. It’s unthinkable and unfair. But the truth is we can never change a person. We can only change the way we react.

When we’re angry, frustrated, or fearful, we may act up or lash out.

For most of us this is temporary and can be quickly rectified with a heartfelt apology. But some people struggle with social courtesies, lack of emotional intelligence, and deep-seated fears that manifest in toxic ways, including challenging and difficult behaviors.

Knowing this, it’s smart to have a strategy for navigating toxicity and to self-manage your own behavior when pressed. Start by flipping your perspective from disgust to empathy. If you adjust your reaction to one of empathy, understanding, grace, gentle avoidance and positive support, bitterness may wane. But this is just one of the many ways you can navigate challenging colleagues (and other people in your life).

To help, I’ve compiled a list of the following titles that I highly recommend.

Coping with Difficult People: The Proven-Effective Battle Plan That Has Helped Millions Deal with the Troublemakers in their Lives at Home and at Work by Robert M. Bramson. Difficult bosses, friends, and family members have made your life miserable—until now! Learn the six basic steps that allow you to cope with just about anyone. Reclaim the power that rightfully belongs to you in any relationship! Based on fourteen years  of research and observation, Dr. Robert Bramson’s  proven-effective techniques are guaranteed to help you right the balance and take charge of your  life.

Crucial Conversations by Joseph Grenny and Kerry Patterson. When stakes are high, opinions vary, and emotions run strong, you have three choices: Avoid a crucial conversation and suffer the consequences; handle the conversation poorly and suffer the consequences; or apply the lessons and strategies of Crucial Conversations and improve relationships and results.

How to Deal with Difficult People: Smart Tactics for Overcoming the Problem People in Your Life by Gill Hasson. Whether it’s a manager who keeps moving the goal posts, an uncooperative colleague, negative friend, or critical family member, some people are just plain hard to get along with. Often, your immediate response is to shrink or sulk, become defensive or attack. But there are smarter moves to make when dealing with difficult people. This book explains how to cope with a range of situations with difficult people and to focus on what you can change.

Surrounded by Idiots: The Four Types of Human Behavior and How to Effectively Communicate with Each in Business and in Life by Thomas Erikson. Of course, the title alone had me hooked, and in this book you’ll discover how to understand yourself better, hone communication and social skills, handle conflict with confidence, improve dynamics with your boss and team, and get the best out of the people you deal with daily in business and life.

The Power of Understanding People: The Key to Strengthening Relationships, Increasing Sales, and Enhancing Organizational Performance by Dave Mitchell. Learn how to establish and develop extremely effective relationships with techniques to better identify and understand the intrinsic needs of others. With effective application, you’ll achieve better team dynamics, increased sales and client satisfaction, higher levels of employee engagement and performance, and even more satisfying marriages and friendships.

Toxic People: Decontaminate Difficult People at Work Without Using Weapons or Duct Tape by Marsha Petrie Sue. The reader will find in this book hard-won tactics for managing people, employees, and clients that create perplexity, puzzlement, and pandemonium at work and at home. Learn how to get the results you deserve, reduce conflict, and improve relationships. 

Images courtesy of St. Martin’s Publishing Group and McGraw Hill

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