How often do you interact with difficult people at work? Consider peers, bosses, business partners, vendors, clients, and direct reports.

Are there any that are “award winners”? We’re talking about those that may be:

  • Disruptive
  • Antagonistic
  • Over committers
  • Under performers
  • Not reliable
  • Lacking accountability
  • Finger pointers
  • Not accepting of differences or change
  • Exhibitors of dictatorial behaviors

“I am thankful for the difficult people in my life; they have shown me exactly who I don’t want to be.”

Dealing with difficult individuals, or rather managing the situation/behavior that creates the difficulty can be challenging but must be addressed (and the sooner the better).

The longer you wait, the more the quality and quantity of work will suffer, as will morale and team synergy. By taking action you will inspire others to do the same, and taking that first step is liberating!

In Dr. Arthur Bell and Dr. Dayle Smith’s book Difficult People At Work, they identify what they call S.O.P’s (sources of pain). They recommend the following actions and considerations:

  1. Describe what the difficult person said or did. Do not make assumptions; state the observable facts.
  2. If a complete outsider witnessed these words or action, what is the most positive interpretation that could be made? What is the most negative interpretation that could be made?
  3. What benefits or advantages will you gain by interpreting the negative? The positive?
  4. What would you say or do if the interpretation was positive? Are you as willing to speak out about the negative or are you reluctant to address it? Why?

Try beginning with a blank slate. If you find you’re saying “I don’t know why they’re doing what they’re doing” ask the S.O.P. (source of pain) what their intentions or motivations are.

Misunderstandings do occur, and too often we focus on the negative interpretation and not on addressing the situation. Be aware that once we interact with difficult people we have a tendency to over emphasize their negative characteristics, and lose sight of their positive attributes.

Do you know any “award winning” difficult people whose behaviors/actions need to be addressed?

QwikTip and QwikCoach

PeopleTek’s Strategic partner, E-Coach, specializes in online coaching tools.

QwikTip for Getting Along With Peers

And for those with a QwikCoach license, refresh your existing skills and acquire new skills by visiting the QwikTips library for leadership ideas and techniques.

If you don’t have QwikCoach, it’s an excellent resource for growing your leadership skills remotely that you should consider.

Learn More About QwikCoach

Help turn your leadership knowledge into leadership action!