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Managing Difficult People

11th June 2019

By Lyndsey Hall

Managing Difficult People


Managing difficult people can be time consuming and emotionally draining.

You can’t reason with an unreasonable person. However, there is usually some underlying reason that is motivating them to behave in a difficult manner.  

Try to identify the person’s trigger. What is stopping them from co-operating with you? It may be helpful to set up a one-to-one meeting. This gives you the opportunity to ask them what their intentions are and why they tend to behave in a difficult manner. Sometimes people just need to feel like they are being listened to.  

Perhaps you can agree what it is you can do to resolve the situation.  If this doesn’t work, it can be helpful to let the person know your intentions and what you are trying to achieve. Explain how your objectives and the objectives of the business align and how you need them to work with you in order to move forward - try to build rapport. 


Communication is key

Sometimes we rely too heavily on email and instant messaging, we forget to have a conversation with people. Talking gives you and the individual the chance to build a connection, perhaps through discussing non work-related topics such as hobbies or family. 

It can also be useful to get some perspective from others. If an individual is being difficult with you, they may also have been difficult with others. Perhaps your colleagues can help you to see things from a different angle and may even offer ideas in terms of a situation.

If the situation cannot be resolved, it is worth remembering that no one is indispensable. Regardless of how good they may be at their job, you need to look at what the overall cost is to your firm. If other staff are leaving because they are unhappy, perhaps it’s best to part ways with your difficult individual and replace them with someone who is easier to work with.


How do you manage difficult people within your business? Leave your tips and advice below or join the conversation on Facebook and Twitter.


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