It seems that they
are everywhere. Every organisation seems to have some, there is often
one in your team, and more than likely you have a number as customers
or clients too. Difficult people. People who are simply hard to get
on with. People who really wear you down.
Anyone come to
My guess would be
that the people who are causing you the most frustration would probably
behave in one of the following ways: aggressive, destructive, know it
all or procrastinator.
So what is the answer
to working successfully with difficult people? The first thing you must
accept is that they probably won't change ... (sorry, but it's important
to face realities!) - therefore it's up to you to find a strategy that
works when dealing with them.
Here are some good
strategies to try.
Generally the aggressor
can't stand wimps! The more you kowtow to them, the more aggressive
their behaviour will be. The best way to win them over is to stand up
for yourself. (Never, ever be aggressive back - it just doesn't work!)
1. Don't allow
them to interrupt you. If they do, calmly say "Excuse me (their
name) you interrupted me" ... and go on saying what you were
2. Be direct.
Don't beat around the bush. Give them the facts.
3. Use 'being
assertive technique'. (see below)
The 'being assertive
technique' is simply using the phrases when you ... (refer to their
behaviour); I feel ... (say how it makes you feel such as angry, frustrated);
... because (the reason); ... I would prefer ... (state what you want).
For example let's say Bill is always interrupting you. You would use
this technique by saying "Bill, when you interrupt me, I feel frustrated
because you aren't letting me express my full opinion I would prefer
if you let me finish what I was saying before you expressed your point
I've used this technique
on some very aggressive people with great success. They generally respond
with surprise because they don't realise their behaviour is not appropriate.
This approach also gains their attention and respect.
This type of behaviour
is currently reaching epidemic proportions in business as more and more
people become insecure about their future prospects. They will deliberately
sabotage your position by not telling you about important meetings or
policy decisions; or maybe gossiping behind your back, or blaming you
for something you didn't do.
They can cause big
trouble if they are allowed to continue unchallenged.
1. Confront them.
2. Create and
3. Keep good records.
Often it can boil
down to your word against theirs. It's therefore very important to be
sure of your facts and have the evidence to prove them.
The Know It All:
You know the ones,
they are always right and therefore won't listen to anyone else's point
of view. Here's how you handle them:
1. Do your homework
- have your facts straight.
2. Use 'agreement
phrases' such as "I appreciate what you're saying and ..."
"I understand what you're saying and ..." to align and then
make your point.
3. Seek their
advice to flatter them and build rapport.
These are people
who can't make up their minds and can be extremely frustrating when
you are dependent on them for something.
They tend to stall
major decisions in the hope that they will go away. People who avoid
making decisions usually use this stalling strategy as a compromise
between being honest and not hurting anyone. Here's how to deal with
1. Find out what
their real concerns are.
2. Help them solve
their problems with the decision.
3. If possible,
keep the action steps in your hands!
what is motivating a person's behaviour you can more effectively deal
with that behaviour ... but that's another article!
The secret to all
effective communication is to be confident and to focus on the other
person - what do they want to know rather that what do I want to tell
Try it, it works.