You play a key role in our organization. You are truly in the center of the rough and tumble world of work. However, you work with many critical colleagues. Sometimes they are not very nice.  Sometimes they are mean. And you’re wondering “How do I cope with difficult people?”

When you need to report to a difficult person, the key is to be prepared and only cover your agenda. Make sure you are fully prepared with the top three issues that you need to discuss.

When providing progress reports to a difficult person, be sure you script your comments completely and leave room to write down their comments and their criticisms, because they will always have some.

Keep in mind, that even if you said exactly what they would have said it was wrong because you said it. Even if you did exactly what they would have done, it was wrong because you did it.

I’m surprised we’re still surprised by it.

Your objective is to re-define winning. You weren’t going to develop a long lasting loving relationship with this person anyway, were you?

Re-defining winning is that you made it through the conversation without getting angry. You kept your composure and didn’t take their criticisms personally.

Re-defining winning is that you didn’t drag that negative episode and anxiety into your next relationship or conversation.

Re-defining winning is recognizing that you handled the interaction with the difficult person like a true professional.

If you develop the reputation as a person that can handle criticism without becoming defensive, you will be recognized as a valued resource. Be highly self-monitoring in your responses and coach yourself into becoming a true professional, even if you are surrounded by unprofessional individuals.

To learn more on dealing with difficult people watch Kit’s keynote presentation here. Check back to every Monday for a new video blog.