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4 Simple and Effective Strategies to Handle Difficult People at Work

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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IDEA EXTRACTED FROM:

4 Simple and Effective Strategies to Handle Difficult People at Work

4 Simple and Effective Strategies to Handle Difficult People at Work

https://www.inc.com/marcel-schwantes/how-to-masterfully-handle-difficult-people-that-work-with-you.html

inc.com

4

Key Ideas

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.

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..."

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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Embrace conflict

Don’t avoid conflict or pretend nothing has happened as it usually will only get worse.

  • If you notice a conflict between employees, encourage them to work it out.
  • If a ...
Resolving conflict
  • Talk together. Each person should have adequate time to say what he or she believes the other party needs to hear. 
  • Listen carefully to gain understanding. Give your complete attention to the person who is talking without interrupting. 
  • Resolution is possible only when you find points of agreement
  • Guide the conversation without taking sides. 
  • Be quick to forgive. Every conflict needs a clear resolution that acknowledges hurt feelings and finds a solution that begins to mend them.

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 ord...

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.

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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&nb...

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. 

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