Established, since 1997, leading UK based training provider.

Managing Difficult People

Managing difficult people

Managing difficult people

At work, are there some people that are difficult to deal with?

Yes.

The problem is this: you don't really get on with these people, but you cannot avoid them, because you work with them.

In your private life you can choose with whom you spend your time. But at work, (and in the family) you cannot choose: you have to accept what you are given.
If you have to sit next to, and work with, a person who you find difficult, then, you are stuck with him, or her.

You are going to have to learn to deal with this person

But of course there are many ways a person may be difficult.

Here are three of the most common ways a person may be difficult and a note on what to do in order to manage this type of person.

1. They talk too much

Some people like to hear the sound of their own voice: It is music to their ears. But he has not got an inkling that he is boring you to tears.

Solution: memorise the following phrase and say it to the person who wants to talk too much:

"Steve, I know you have a lot you want to tell me, but the fact is, that I must focus my mind on this for a while. So would you please tell me your story later, and for now, would you please, let me concentrate on this?"

2. They have a negative attitude

Negative people are negative for two reasons:

First reason for being negative

They are negative because they believe that the future will be worse than the present. This induces worry, fear, pessimism, anxiety, and cynicism.

Second reason for being negative

They are negative because they keep thinking of all the bad things that have happened to them in the past. And they keep replaying the memories of all their defeats, setbacks, injuries and injustices. As a result, this thinking makes them angry, bitter, irritable and upset.

Some people dwell on both sets combined:

all the bad things that have happened to them in the past; and all the bad things they expect to happen in the future: So now you have a perfect storm of negative emotions: anger, bitterness, irritation, fear, pessimistic anxiety and cynicism.

The way to deal with this person is to ask them questions that presuppose that the future will be better than the present. And do it all the time, consistently, for months.

o Ask questions like, "What are your goals for the next six months?"

o Ask him questions like, "In your opinion, what is the best way to do this?"

o Ask him, "How do you think we could make this better?"

Remember that you can't make someone change, but you can influence them to change, by asking them questions that cause them to think about how the future will be better than the present.

Optimism is based upon the belief that the future will be better than the present. And so your mission is to keep the conversations based on that premise.

Do it on purpose; do it consistently. Don't let him bend the conversation back to how the past was bad and how the future will be worse.

IT is a battle of wills

But you have an advantage. You know that you are in a battle of wills, and he does not know. You are acting according to a plan; he is acting on habit pattern and unconscious conditioning.

Conflict Management Conflict Management Training Course Logo

Conflict Management Training

Conflict is inevitable, because people disagree. Therefore, you must be able to handle conflict situations effectively. You must know how to be assertive, clear and professional (not emotional, upset and angry) whilst in conflict. If you want to learn more on how to achieve this, please click here to see our conflict management training.

3. The other person is disorganised

The other person is disorganised and inefficient. This often goes hand in hand with, being un-tidy and ill prepared.

The only way to handle this person is to keep asking for his plans for next week, next month and next year. Keep using the P list words.

The p list words are:

  • Planning
  • Preparation
  • Prioritisation
  • Prevention

Keep talking to him (or her,) in terms of these four p-list words.

"How are your preparations for the next month's event coming along?"

"Have you got your plans sorted yet?"

"How can we prevent errors from occurring like they did last time?"

Planning, preparation, prioritisation and prevention are the key words and concepts that you must drive into this person's subconscious mind; through dint of repetition and the incessant asking of suggestive questions.

Your secret mission is to brain wash this character with a constant bombardment of his subconscious mind of the p list concepts, planning, preparation, prioritisation and prevention, through conversational suggestion.

After a while, you will notice a slight improvement in his behaviour. If you keep influencing him to think in terms of Planning, preparation, prioritisation and prevention, then his actions will begin to follow suit.

Try it and see for yourself.

It's fun.

Your Comments

Blog Email Subscription

Do you want to receive an email whenever we post a new blog?
The blogs contain article 5-10 minutes long - ideal for reading during your coffee break!
If you wish to sign up for this, please click here.

Further Reading in Conflict Management and Handling Difficult People

  • Performance Management Training
    Performance Management Performance management is the art of getting the best performance from other people. In order to be a good performance manager, you need to know the proper principles of performance management and you need to have the communication skills that will allow you to apply the principles to others...
    Read Article >
  • Top Ten Conflict Management Techniques
    Your organisation needs people to cooperate. However, inevitably people disagree, which can lead to conflict situations. It is important to learn conflict management techniques, since conflicts are costly and disruptive.
    Read Article >
  • 6 Step method to handle difficult people
    6 step method to handle difficult people On occasion, you have to handle difficult people. But there are two major contexts in which that can occur: When you are the one who is taking the initiative to speak first. When the other person is the one who is taking the initiative...
    Read Article >
  • Eight causes of conflict
    Eight causes of conflict Conflict management training courses Conflict is a broad term that covers many themes. Conflict based upon the clumsy use of over emotionalised and highly judgmental language. Conflict based upon the lack of proper appreciation and praise. Conflict based upon the Misuse of humour. Conflict based on the...
    Read Article >
  • How to Handle a Complaint
    It is vital that all staff are taught how to handle complaints in a professional manner. Follow this six step method for handling complaints successfully and improve your overall customer service.
    Read Article >