How to deal with your most challenging colleague

You’d have to look very hard to find a corporation that doesn’t have ‘mutual respect’ embedded somewhere into it’s value framework. 

The person who first helped corporations compile their values knew that Respect for the people we work with is a game changer. When we can find it, communication becomes so much simpler. When it eludes us, having conversations that are impactful and effective – and that solve problems at their root cause – is almost impossible. 

The problem is that while it’s easy enough to say ‘Treat people with respect‘, and that’s simple enough to do with people we like and find it easy to respect; when it doesn’t come easily and when we work with someone who seems to push every single button we have, finding that place from which we can communicate easily and effectively can be incredibly challenging. 

We don’t absorb values by Osmosis by simply seeing them written on a wall or coming up as a screensaver on our Laptop and we also aren’t taught how to cultivate respect for someone who gives us every reason in the world to have no respect for them.  

So how do we have impactful and effective communication with people who push our buttons – ironically, the very people who we MOST need to be able to communicate effectively with? 

Here’s how: 

We find respect for them in our thinking. 

At first our brains will have a hissy fit about this. 

Him? He who is so aggressive / domineering / patronising / self- aggrandising / not even particularly intelligent? 

Yes. Find respect for him. For your benefit. 

Because when you’re feeling more neutral about him, how you show up is more level, more of yourself, more in control of what you’re thinking and feeling. It’s from this place that we communicate most effectively. 

Is this radical?

Yes it is.

It’s completely counter to how our human brain thinks on default. 

Will it change how you interact with even your most challenging of colleagues?


I’ve seen this work too many times to question whether or not it will work for you too. 

How can you find respect for your most challenging colleague, this week? 

I challenge you to find three things they do well.

Remember – the reason to do it is for yourself.

For how you show up around this person.

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