Dealing with Difficult People

They’re everywhere. Walk into any workplace and you’ll find them. Regardless of your company’s success or employee-friendly culture, difficult people pose challenges for managers and team leaders each day.

Some are angry; some are anxious. Others are fearful, negative and obstinate. Some spark frequent disputes with their peers. Still others quietly stonewall and fail to follow through on commitments.

You cannot afford to avoid dealing with difficult people. Whether they’re direct reports or peer managers, their frustrating behaviors will take a toll on your ability to manage others and produce stellar results.

The more serious forms of difficult behavior are, in some ways, easier to deal with because they are blatant and often illegal. In cases of harassment, sabotage or physical threats, swiftly follow your clearly outlined company policies and implement the appropriate consequences.

But long before overt infringements arise, there are subtle forms of damaging behaviors that should not be tolerated or allowed to escalate. Confronting and dealing with these sticky situations will prevent more serious problems in the future.

Unfortunately, many managers avoid dealing with difficult people and strong emotions in the workplace. “People problems” are often cited as the most challenging — and time-consuming — part of a manager’s job. One study found that 42 percent of managers’ time is spent on defusing office conflict.

This is a brief synopsis of an article available for your use in newsletters, websites and blogs for executive and business coaches and consultants, in three lengths: 2,000, 1,000 and 600 words.

The full article contains the following concepts:

The High Costs of Conflict
Three Important Questions
Identify the Problem Behaviors
The Force of Strong Emotions
Handling Difficult Behaviors –
Step One: Develop a Plan
Step 2: Invest in Training
Step 3: Invest in Coaching
What Is Your Part?
A Checklist for the Disciplinary Conversation

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All word lengths are approximate.

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