4 Simple and Effective Strategies to Handle Difficult People at Work - Deepstash
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Develop Your Self-awareness

Develop Your Self-awareness

  • Learn to manage your own emotions. 
  • Practice noticing your feelings, thoughts, and behavior--your triggers. Document things as they come up.
When you get good at it, you'll start looking at the whole picture, and both sides of the issue. You begin to tap into your emotions to choose a different outcome, like an assertive response to a difficult person overstepping your boundaries.

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Be Assertive and Set Boundaries

An assertive person takes full responsibility for herself and her actions. 

  • Seek self-control, be fair and reasonable, take on the part of the problem that belongs to you, and keep the rest of the problem where it belongs--with the difficult person.
  • Set limits and stand up for yourself so others won't take advantage. 
  • Use "I" statements, not "you" statements (these tend to lead to attack and blame).

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Listen

  • Give the difficult person a chance to finish without interrupting. 
  • Ask clarifying questions if confused, and use paraphrasing and mirroring to check the accuracy of hearing.
  • Acknowledge the other person's feelings. So, if the other person is angry, say, "You must be feeling very frustrated..."

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Give Feedback

  • Maintain comfortable eye contact
  • Remain open-minded.
  • Pay attention to non-verbal signals as a way of reading the person's feeling state.
  • Use an "I" statement of feeling. Ex: "I feel like this decision violates our trust."
  • Request what you'd like to happen differently the next time. If you want things to change, you'll probably need to provide a little guidance. 
  • Focus on the difficult person's behavior and never make it about the person.
  • Feedback should always be focused on win-win.
  • Get agreement about a plan of action, and commitment on both your parts to follow through.

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