Dealing with Difficult People

Jun 05, 2022
Results Driven Leadership Management Training
Dealing with Difficult People


There will often be times when you’ll have to deal with different types of difficult people. These people may be within your organization, such as employees, peers, or bosses. Regardless of who they are, you must deal with these difficult people in a way that brings about the most significant impact on you and the areas you manage.


Part of the problem is that performance conversations can be stressful. When people get defensive and the mood turns sour, workplace relationships can be damaged. And when you factor in a busy working environment, it's easy to see why some managers might put off giving corrective feedback until formal performance reviews.


But delaying giving feedback can lead to a disconnect between it and the behavior or action.


Start Dealing With Difficult People With Confidence Using These Tools

Dealing with difficult people is a skill that many managers don’t possess. Managers tend to view the destructive behaviors of people as though they are infrequent enough to avoid with no urgency to deal with them. Others see the patterns of destructive behaviors but do not know how best to address the situations.


Here’s a point that many managers do not pay enough attention to. These problematic people create strife and conflict with their team members as well. This conflict dramatically affects all the other team members’ morale and productivity. This may be the most insidious issue with difficult people. It’s tough to observe the depth of their negative impact but know that it is there. It is your job as a manager and leader to do something about it.


Every day you allow bad behavior to go on without some correction; they are undermining the respect your team members, peers, and bosses have for you. They are all waiting for you to deal with the situation. It will not correct itself, and the ongoing damage is deep.


Results-Driven Managers have the knowledge and skill to recognize when difficult people are being destructive and the urgency and tools to deal with them practically. They know that these negative behaviors must be addressed, even if difficult.

Caving in to the Destructive Behaviors by sticking your head in the sand, and hoping that the problems will go away, is a sure way to sabotage your impact.


Start Dealing With Difficult People With Confidence Using These Tools


Here is a checklist for dealing with Difficult People in the best possible way for improved outcomes and morale.


  • Do I talk with problem employees tactfully so they are motivated rather than demoralized?
  • o I tend to dwell on past mistakes rather than focus on the future?
  • Have I let them 'play dead' and not take action soon enough?
  • Do I give too much attention to troublemakers?
  • Do I always think before I act, especially in disciplinary situations?
  • How will I know when turnover is for the best?
  • How do I go about getting the facts when there's a problem?
  • What's the best way to handle an employee's situation?
  • Am I satisfied with the way I handle employees who argue with me? If not, what can I do differently?
  • What am I doing to reduce the risk of violence in my organization?
  • How can I fire someone without creating a mess?
  • Do I conduct exit interviews? If not, why not?


Listen To Our Podcast On Dealing With Difficult People


About the author:

Vaughn is the co-founder of Results-Driven Leadership. He is a leadership development expert, podcaster, and author. His methods are brought from his real-world experience working on the front lines and living the role of being a high-impact leader and manager. There was no theory, just common-sense advice and direction. He is a former executive with CarMax the world's largest and most respected company in the auto industry and is a Fortune 100 Best Places to Work.

Vaughn's mission is to improve the impact of executives and other managers by increasing their knowledge, skills, and abilities.

His motto is "No matter what business you're in, you’re in the people business."

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