Handling difficult people can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a quote we often attribute to our 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, "I don't like that man. I must get to know him better." Often this can indeed be the road to making many difficult relationships less so. Other times, working with a difficult person takes skill and in extreme circumstances, even safety concerns. Every workplace has some person who makes life difficult, slows productivity, causes stress, or just likes to “stir things up.” Changing jobs can help, but often there will be someone at the new job who is either more or less difficult than the person at your previous job. Running from difficult people is not always the answer and ignoring them is never the answer. What are some ways to handle a difficult person in your life?
We all can have our moments. Moments when we are happy, sad, miffed, and difficult. If an employee who usually exhibits relatively happy and cooperative behavior and suddenly or unexpectedly shifts behaviors for the worst, then it’s probably due to some out of the ordinary happenstance. This employee may need some time off or require services such as a counselor or legal advice that is outside our skill set as managers. It’s those employees who exhibit consistently difficult behavior that are the issue.
These employees try our patience and emotions. However, patience and controlling our emotions are of paramount necessity to help handle these trying people. This is increasingly difficult to pull off when dealing with these types of behaviors is a daily occurrence. Let’s look at some of the causes and cures of these difficult personalities.