I was taking with a client the other day, and at one point, he made an observation about a (known to be) difficult co-worker that created an epiphany for him.
He observed that, during a recent conversation with the team, this particular person, "was committed to being angry."
This observation can be made every day in many office and within many teams. Some people are just committed to being angry, and they can never seem to land on solutions or answers without complaining about...well...everything.
As Gilda Radner's wonderful character, Rosanne Rosanadana once said, "If it's not one thing, it's another." (The main difference being that, when she said it, it was funny.)
The challenge with those personalities is that they waste time, suck energy out of the room, and put up roadblocks that slow things down. When inspiration, motivation, and creativity are at the helm, and others are ready to move forward, that temperament leaves much to be desired.
There are usually only two reasons why someone commits to that type of disposition; either they lack confidence, and find this "tough" exterior as a cloak to hide that, or they are simply an a**hole.
Sorry to be so blunt, but it's the truth.
Why is this important to understand?
During times when you feel like you are the problem or you are the one who isn't getting it, remind yourself that, sometimes, other people who are lacking confidence themselves are the ones who try and make other people feel "less than," or like their ideas aren't good ones.
This is a leadership opportunity. Taking on a leadership perspective will expose both your self-worth, and their needs.
When you encounter these broken people, you have the opportunity to step into a leadership role for both yourself, and for them.
Know that people committed to being problem makers instead of problem solvers are the broken ones, and you can choose to refocus on the value you are bringing to the table. It can also help you to recognize a lack of confidence in others, and maybe be the one who steps up and helps them get out of that insecurity, and back on their game.
Problem makers are sometimes good to have in your life, because they remind you of the person you don't want to be. But there may be an underlying cause for their behavior, and you might be the person who reminds them of the value they bring into the mix.
A leader wouldn't hesitate to step into that space. Give yourself permission to be a leader.