7 Ways to Handle Difficult People

At some point all of us will be confronted by difficult people. There are myriad reasons why a person may be difficult to work with.  More on that later. In the meantime, here agree a few suggestions you can immediately implement. Please share below

Learning to deal with difficult people is like learning a foreign language.  It’s well, shall we say, difficult? But as challenging as it is to develop fluency in conflict situations, it’s just as hard, if not harder, to learn to detach yourself emotionally from the outcome.

It helps to think about it this way: drama is a childhood phenomenon.  So whenever you are faced with hysteria, irrational thinking or out-of-control emotions, know that there is simply a child in the room – a fully-grown adult child, but a child nonetheless.

See, underneath difficult personalities there is an unhealthy, undeveloped, unsatisfied ego who is acting out. Since these egos are remnants of childhood, normal, rational thinking does not apply.  They live to ensnare you into their reality when something has happened to make them feel insecure.  But, it’s a time warp.  Do not go! If you do, you’ll end up mired in another person’s emotional environment that is rooted in the past.

Of course, not being privy to that past, you have no idea how the person is allowing his or her ego to distort the present.  All you can do is manage it from your perspective the best you can.  The key is to stay steady and not get drawn in.

Easier said than done, I know.

Chances are, if you’ve been in the workforce for any amount of time, you have crossed paths with some of these ego-laden “characters.”   Here are some things you can do to help manage the conversation and the person to whom you are trying to talk.

The Ticking Time Bombs

Think Tasmanian devil. These folks are volatile, inconsistent, and unpredictable. They fly off the handle easily and feel empowered by making others walk on eggshells. They stifle free dialogue by shutting other people down, and they kill the possibility of having productive conversations by breeding insecurity in their relationships. 

The Tyrant rants and raves and makes no sense.

The Ogre is grumpy and unpleasant and snaps for no reason.

The Bully derives pleasure from pushing other people around.

The Loose Cannon is quiet and pent up but abusive when set off.

How to Deal:

Weather the storm. Remain calm no matter what.  If you ever heard a story about what to do should you find yourself face-to-face with a lion in the wilderness, you know your only chance at survival is to stare it down, eye-to-eye, and remain still until it is convinced by your lack of fear that you are not the perfect prey.

what.  If you ever heard a story about what to do should you find yourself face-to-face with a lion in the wilderness, you know your only chance at survival is to stare it down, eye-to-eye, and remain still until it is convinced by your lack of fear that you are not the perfect prey. […]

Read full article Psychology Today.

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About

Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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Posted in Human Resources, Leadership

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