Tell Us About a Time When You Found It Difficult to Work With Someone

By  | 

As most professionals have encountered challenging coworkers or customers during their careers, interviewers frequently pose this question to demonstrate your adaptability, clear communication and problem-solving abilities. When answering this query you should share an example that showcases this.

Avoid telling long, boring tales about the fight over Sprite in the employee lounge; rather, focus on one specific instance when you and one of your colleagues disagreed on a project, only to put aside your egos to work together towards its completion.

1. Take Ownership of Your Actions

Assuming ownership is a valuable skill that empowers employees to take initiative and accept responsibility for outcomes. It plays an essential role in accountability – being aware of mistakes made while learning from them – which allows individuals to build positive relationships and foster trust both personally and professionally.

Team members willing to take ownership can be beneficial for everyone in an organization, including managers. It allows managers to step back and delegate more work while still monitoring teams, freeing up time for them to focus on strategic goals and bigger-picture issues; additionally it strengthens relationships within teams by encouraging more open communication channels.

Taken depending on the situation, taking ownership can take many forms; but in general it involves acknowledging and understanding what’s happening, along with any challenges that might be present. If someone commits a mistake that results in customers becoming dissatisfied with services provided, taking responsibility means raising any related concerns directly with appropriate personnel or asking for assistance when necessary.

2. Stay Away from the Person

Difficult people can make your workplace an overwhelming source of anxiety. Their negative energy creates an atmosphere which makes work difficult, leading to physical symptoms like headaches or fatigue for you as an employee.

As is often the case when dealing with difficult people, the best strategy for handling them effectively is simply staying away from them. That may involve limiting how often or for how long you interact with them or even bringing along someone who can help keep your emotions under control and prevent you from reacting emotionally when faced with their provocations.

If the impossible individual persists in being impossible, indirect confrontation techniques such as humor or sarcasm may help diffuse the situation and diffuse any potential violence or confrontations that arise from them. By showing them they’re not getting anywhere with you and ultimately backing off. You could also try more direct approaches by directly approaching them with requests that they modify their behavior – however this could prove challenging as well.

3. Be Intentional About Expressing Empathy

No matter how the person’s actions may hinder your ability to produce quality work or leave you feeling frustrated, showing empathy can still be expressed effectively. Being purposeful about showing this emotion will allow for clarity and be respectful – while avoiding characterizing them as difficult or inaccessible colleagues.

Recognizing when someone is having a tough day or experiencing pain is easy – slumped shoulders, looks of despondence or nonresponse to text messages can all be telltale signs. Yet it can be harder to know how best to help. Social entrepreneur Gwen Yi Wong shared her experience attempting to express empathy during such encounters before discovering it was often more beneficial to just listen instead.

Cognitive biases and dehumanization can prevent you from feeling empathy for people different than yourself or who have gone through challenges in their life. To combat these barriers, psychologists recommend reading books about different cultures or communities or seeking pen pals from all parts of the globe.

4. Stay Solution-Oriented

By remaining solution-focused, you are able to quickly move beyond issues and see the positive aspects of any situation, helping keep yourself motivated and energised while inspiring your team members towards becoming solution oriented themselves.

Focusing on the negative aspects of any situation, conflict or individual will only make working with them more challenging. Dwelling on their problems will increase stress levels and sap your energy; staying solution focused can help prevent you and your team from becoming overwhelmed by difficult circumstances.

Solution-orientation goes beyond being just a mindset – it’s an approach to life’s obstacles that takes root in one’s bones. Being solution-focused involves viewing life from different perspectives, anticipating dead ends and planning your way through any maze you encounter. Though not an easy skill to cultivate, solution orientation can be taught and inspired within teams in order to help everyone grow together as one cohesive unit.