It’s happened again. One of your peers has decided to be difficult, uncooperative or just plain ignore you. Believe it or not, this is one of the most common topics that business people identify as one of the major challenges to achieving results.

Talk to the handFor some reason, there are a number of people working in companies who believe that they do not need to cooperate or support others, either within their own departments or across the business. Every day that this behavior is tolerated is a day fraught with lost productivity, ineffective execution and declining team and organizational morale.

What can you do? Well, the option to change someone else is slim to none as everyone is responsible for his/her own behavior. So the real opportunity lies within you as a leader to enhance your own competencies so that you are better able to outthink and outmaneuver this disruptive individual. It’s also a great time to enhance your negotiation skills and recognize that the optimum answer may be how to minimize the potential damage these individuals do to the team and company.

Think about it this way. If you were trying to win an endurance race and another runner kept cutting you off and trying to trip you, would you just drop out of the race? Hopefully not, because as soon as you do that you have reinforced the behavior directed at you and resigned yourself to losing.

Instead, think about ways to run a better race. For instance:

Negotiate from a position of influence

  • Look at the resources and/or information you have that this individual is dependent on from you or your Team. There usually is some level of shared need within and between departments. Make sure that you clearly communicate that cooperation has to go both ways and that you are clear about the “tradeables” or influence you have as a peer. Do it nicely – but do it!

Leverage your leadership competencies and self management

  • The key is to leverage your interpersonal and leadership strengths to better manage the situation. The power to manage the situation is entirely within your control. How you self manage through adversity or challenging situations is a hallmark of a resilient and competent leader.

Communicate from a position of strengthYoung Woman Thinking

  • This is one of the most challenging in that we often want to go to the boss or HR and complain about someone’s behavior or
    lack of cooperation; however, when you do this you could be communicating that you can’t handle difficult or challenging people. This is something you’ll have to handle your entire career – with people at all levels of the organization. Now if someone is being abusive or demonstrating inappropriate behavior or language, then that needs to be addressed.