How to manage difficult people (with confidence)
Human Resources News 3 months ago No Comments

If management was easy then wouldn’t every one do it?

The fact is, at times managing people can be tough and lonely, dependant on the business size you are in.  Not everyone is a breeze to be managed and/or led, and one of the skills you need to master when moving into management is how to confidently manage tough people – with confidence.

With the right skill and strategies you can find a way to deal with those people who seem to want to undermine you or act out in the work place.

Like everything, it is just knowing how to deal with it.

Top Tips on how to manage difficult people.

  • Don’t take it personally.  

This is a true case of it’s not me, it’s you.  Most difficult people do not adopt this behaviour for the workplace, it is commonplace in most aspects of their lives.

  • Don’t join in the game

Or as your mother would say, don’t stoop to their level.  People don’t learn by having a taste of their own medicine, acting in the same way is more likely to just wind them tighter.

  • Don’t try to placate them

Typically this will just increase the thirst…

In this type of situation, you need to pull on your confidence reserves, difficult people can be akin to bullies, which can be so hard to work with.

However, your control factor is indeed, your own reaction.  To use a popular phrase, “if you fight fire with fire, you will only get burned.”   If you can control your own emotional response, you are better equipped to plan a reaction and develop a strategy to deal with the problem.

Make it funny

Humour can help, most volatile situations can be diffused with a joke or a witty comment.  Be careful not to cross the line into sarcasm as this will only exasperate the situation.  But if you can make people laugh and ease the tension, go for it.

Stand up.

Literally – body language can be a powerful tool in managing tough people.  If you sense a situation is going wrong in the workplace, assert your authority as line manager and handle the issue assertively rather than emotionally.  Ending the situation quickly without being drawn into a long battle is a highly effective tool.

Allow time to calm down

Ideally as manager you don’t want to show your emotion, no matter how you feel.  But often walking away and letting all parties calm down before addressing the behaviour works wonders.  Then initiating a private conversation and explaining what was inappropriate in the workplace can be done when all parties are relaxed and more open to discussion as opposed to confrontation.

Communication is key

Think about your language, what reaction are you looking for, and what will those words evoke?  If you can placate a difficult individual and earn their respect you may find yourself managing a high flyer instead.

For further reading look at the following articles:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/communication-success/201309/ten-keys-handling-unreasonable-difficult-people

https://www.theguardian.com/careers/careers-blog/how-to-deal-difficult-people-at-work