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Tool #6: Dealing with Difficult People at Work

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Presentation on theme: "Tool #6: Dealing with Difficult People at Work"— Presentation transcript:

1 Tool #6: Dealing with Difficult People at Work
Employee Success Toolkit Tool #6: Dealing with Difficult People at Work Copyright Harriet Meyerson 2008 •

2 Types of Difficult People
Cranky Aggressive Sniper Complainer Silent

3 “Individuals behave in a difficult manner because they have learned that doing so keeps others off balance and incapable of effective action. Worst of all, they appear immune to all the usual methods of communication and persuasion designed to convince them or help them to change their ways,” says Robert M. Bramson, Ph.D., author of Coping with Difficult People

4 Why are people cranky? Cranky People
Some people may be purposefully cranky because it helps them get their own way. For others, crankiness is simply a reflection of their own inner turmoil.

5 How to Deal with Cranky People
Try to determine the real message the person is telling you. Are you any part of the problem? What can you change about your own behavior? Don’t remain silent. Agree with any part of the cranky person’s statement that may be true. In a neutral tone of voice say, “Would you please speak to me in a calmer tone of voice?”

6 Aggressive People Why are people aggressive?
Overly aggressive people expect others to either: Run away from them React with rage Why are people aggressive?

7 How to Deal with Aggressive People
Stand up to them, but don’t fight. Wait for them to run out of some steam. Call the hostile person by name and assert your own opinions with confidence. “Mr. Jones, I disagree with you.” “Mary, you interrupted me. We can discuss my proposal after you listen to it.”

8 Subtle Snipers These people are experts in pot shots and sneak attacks in subtle ways, such as: Humorous put downs Sarcastic tones of voice Disapproving looks Innuendos

9 How to Deal with Subtle Snipers
Respond to the sniper with a question. “That sounds like you’re making fun of me. Are you?” “What are you trying to tell me with that look?” “Did you really mean what you said?” A sniper will usually respond with denial or volley the responsibility to you. “I’m only joking.” “You’re so serious. Can’t you take a joke?” Speaking up lessens the chance of similar attacks in the future.

10 Complainers These are fearful people who have little faith in themselves or others because they believe in a hostile world. Their constant discouragement and complaining can bring everyone to despair.

11 How to Deal with Complainers
Don’t try to argue them out of their negativity. Respond with your own optimistic expectations. “I think that everything will turn out great.” “I am sure we will get done on time.”

12 Silent People They are timid people who, like turtles, retreat into their shells to avoid conflict and responsibility. They get away with not talking because most people are uncomfortable with silence and are too quick to fill in the gaps.

13 How to Deal with Silent People
Ask them questions that cannot be answered with just a “yes” or “no”, such as: “Would you please help me understand the problem you are facing?” Wait at least one full minute. Then, if the silent person won’t respond, set another date to discuss the matter.

14 Don’t #1 Don’t take the difficult person’s behavior personally.
A difficult person’s behavior is habitual. He behaves this way with most people.

15 Don’t #2 Don’t make excuses for the difficult person’s behavior.
Think of other people who have faced adversity and have not become difficult. You lose control when you make excuses for difficult people.

16 Don’t #3 Don’t fight back.
Don’t try to beat them at their own game. They have been practicing their skills for a long time, and you are a beginner by comparison.

17 Don’t #4 Don’t try to appease them.
It won’t work because difficult people have an insatiable appetite for more.

18 Don’t try to change the difficult person.
You can’t change other people. You can only change your response to their behavior. By changing your responses, they may decide to change…or they may not. However, you will feel better.

19 Keep Practicing You will break the difficult person’s ability to interfere with your effectiveness. You will stand up for yourself in a compassionate and respectful manner. You will feel more confident. You will be able to enjoy your workdays.

20 Dealing with Difficult People at Work
Quiz & Discussion Questions

21 Question 1 How can you respond to a person referred to as a “sniper”?

22 Question 2 What is the personality type referred to as “complainers”?

23 Question 3 Why is it difficult to deal with a silent co-worker?

24 Question 4 How should you deal with a “cranky” co-worker?

25 Question 5 Name three ways in which you can deal with difficult people.

26 Set Your Goals What are your three main goals for dealing with difficult people at work?

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