Handling Difficult People - Deepstash

👥

Handling Difficult People

Guide to help you understand what makes difficult people tick and how best to handle them.

Be calm

Be calm

Someone who is calm is seen as being in control, centered and more respectable. 

Unless you know that anger will trigger the person into action and you are consciously using it as a strategy to move him/her, it is better to assume a calm persona.

Understand the person's intentions

Even when it may seem that the person is just out to get you, there is always some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way. 

Try to identify the person's trigger: What is making him/her act in this manner? What is stopping him/her from cooperating with you? How can you help to meet his/her needs and resolve the situation?

Get some perspective from others

In all likelihood, your colleagues, managers and friends must have experienced similar situations in some way or another. They will be able to see things from a different angle and offer a different take on the situation. 

Don’t try to fix the difficult person

Don’t try to fix the difficult person

Accept them exactly as they are. 

Accept that they are unable to change, at least at this point in time. Unless you see real change — proof that this person is making an effort to listen and meet you halfway — you can assume that their behavior is what it has always been.

Be present and direct

Try to avoid getting into a fight-or-flight response, which inevitably leads to becoming defensive

  • Be direct and assertive when you express yourself. 
  • Stay focused on how you respond. 
  • Know when the discussion or argument has accelerated to the point of no return. If it gets to this point, stop the interaction, and leave the conversation.

Encourage difficult people to express themselves

Let them fully state their point of view about the issue/conflict/problem without interruption. What do they feel people misunderstand about them? What do they want or expect from others? 

The idea is to remain as neutral as possible. Just listening may be enough to allow someone to feel like they have the opportunity to say what’s on their mind. 

Identifying Difficult People

Identifying Difficult People

  • The Perfectionist. If you are looking for quick results, perfectionists can be a source of frustration.
  • Control freaks. When you want to do things your way, overly controlling types can be a source of irritation as well.
  • Creative people. They’re essential if generating ideas is the plan but can cause frustration when you just want to get to delivering a simple result.
  • Shapers: Although shapers may seek to take over as and when they see fit, they can really help drive action.
  • Aggressive or defensive people. Assertion can help move a group forward. Aggression or defensiveness can have the opposite effect on a group’s dynamic.
  • Submissive people. The lack of confidence and fear of failure that many submissive types display can be a source of frustration as well. 

Identifying the Issue

Turn the situation inward and analyze your triggers and reactions to these situations. 

  • How do you react to a difficult person in your life?
  • How does your difficult person react to your reactions?
  • If the other person is the problem, are you growing unhealthy actions and reactions in response to him or her?
  • Are you the difficult person driving others to reactive behavior?
  • How do others react to your actions and responses?

Mitigating These Situations

Separate the facts from your assumptions. 

Separate yourself and your reactions from the negative emotions you may be feeling in the moment. 

Handle difficult people

Handle difficult people

Difficult people defy logic. They create unnecessary complexity, strife and worst of all stress.

90 % of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions in times of stress in order to remain calm and in control. They have well-honed coping strategies that they employ to keep difficult people at bay.

Set limits

People often feel pressure to listen to complainers because they don’t want to be seen as callous or rude.

Avoid this by setting limits and distancing yourself when necessary. Ask complainers how they intend to fix the problem. They will either quiet down or redirect the conversation in a productive direction.

Rise above

Difficult people drive you crazy because their behavior is so irrational. 

Distance yourself from them emotionally and approach your interactions like they’re a science project (or you’re their shrink). You don’t need to respond to the emotional chaos -- only the facts.

Accept Management’s Inherent Difficulty

Accept Management’s Inherent Difficulty

  • Don't waste time and mental energy wishing it weren't so.
  • Accept that frustrations and difficult situations go with the territory of management.
  • Understand that that's why management is better paid.
  • Approach employee "issues" positively, like an intriguing puzzle to solve.

Deal With Conflict Directly

The best managers don’t avoid or bulldoze over conflicts, as doing so is harmful to cooperation. They understand people will have to keep working together in the future and that constructive and fair solutions are the ideal.

Be Empathetic

Be Empathetic

Someone may be hard to manage due to new external factors or something in your own management style. If you can look at a problematic situation holistically and gain insights into why someone is acting a certain way, that can lead you to a constructive solution.

Ready for the next level?

Read Like a Pro

stash-superman-illustration

Explore the World’s

Best Ideas

200,000+ ideas on pretty much any topic. Created by the smartest people around & well-organized so you can explore at will.

An Idea for Everything

Explore the biggest library of insights. And we've infused it with powerful filtering tools so you can easily find what you need.

Knowledge Library

Powerful Saving & Organizational Tools

Save ideas for later reading, for personalized stashes, or for remembering it later.

# Personal Growth

Take Your Ideas

Anywhere

Organize your ideas & listen on the go. And with Pro, there are no limits.

Listen on the go

Just press play and we take care of the words.

Never worry about spotty connections

No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.

Get Organized with Stashes

Ideas for your next work project? Quotes that inspire you? Put them in the right place so you never lose them.

Join

2 Million Stashers

4.8

Stars

5,740 Reviews

App Store

4.7

Stars

72,690 Reviews

Google Play

Shankul Varada

Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.

Sean Green

Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.

samz905

Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.

Ashley Anthony

This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!

Jamyson Haug

Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.

Laetitia Berton

I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!

Giovanna Scalzone

Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.

Ghazala Begum

Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.

Read & Learn

20x Faster

without
deepstash

with
deepstash

with

deepstash

Access to 200,000+ ideas

Access to the mobile app

Unlimited idea saving & library

Unlimited history

Unlimited listening to ideas

Downloading & offline access

Personalized recommendations

FAQ

Claim Your Limited Offer

Get Deepstash Pro