Handle Difficult People

There always seems to be at least that one person who knows just how to rub you off the wrong way. It could be a colleague, a client or even someone you know in your personal life. So how do handle difficult people and prevent a problematic situation from becoming explosive?


Dealing with difficult behaviour is challenging because people are different. There’s no magic potion that will make bad behaviour or the conflict it has caused disappear. However, a good starting point is to understand why the person that you’re dealing with is being so difficult.


Upcoming Event: Dealing with Difficult People 1 Day Course


We have identified 4 effective ways for you to handle difficult people and prevent a volatile situation:

Don’t hold onto Resentment and don’t take what they Say Personally

It’s natural to feel trapped in an emotion caused by a person’s bad behaviour towards you. However, don’t take it personally.  Try to rather be constructive in your response, and forgiving towards their behaviour. This will give you the opportunity to minimise the anger you feel and will show them that there are other, more appropriate ways of dealing with their emotions.


Try to Understand the Person’s Interests in the Situation

Understanding their interests might help to see the true reason for their behaviour. Are they feeling threatened, underappreciated or even left out? Try not to attack them personally, as it will only make them more defensive and any potential problem worse. Remember attack the problem, not the person!


Don’t let your Ego get Involved in the Situation

When dealing with someone who is being difficult or upset, emotions are often a very big part of the exchange. Keeping your own emotions in check is tough, but essential to prevent aggravating the situation further. Discussing perceptions and interpretations from both sides will eliminate any misunderstandings. More importantly, it’s vital that you remain calm and not let your own ego get in the way as it will make a significant difference in resolving the situation.


Listen, Listen, Listen

Listening is one of the most important tools to deal with difficult behaviour. Yet it is probably the one thing that most people often fail to do. Give the person the gift of your attention and you may find that their behaviour changes favourably now that someone is willing to hear them out.


Related: Realising the True Power of Emotional Intelligence (EQ)


Handling difficult people and resolving any of their problems isn’t an easy task, but it’s also something that you definitely can’t ignore. Applying these four methods is much easier said than done but you’ve got to be persistent. Even if the person that you are dealing with is very irate, if you’re sincere and willing to assist, you might just find that they will become a lot easier to handle!



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