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  • Dealing with Difficult People

  • Have you met this person?

  • True or False:

    Most people dont consider themselves difficult.

  • Whats the point?These people are everywhere; you cannot avoid them entirely.

    Unfortunately, they often hold positions of power.

    Give them the chance, and they will make you miserable.

    You cant change them, but you can change the way you react to them.

    Changing how you react to these people will improve the quality of your life.

  • ObjectivesToday's Training Objectives:

    Identify common behaviours difficult people exhibitDescribe feelings these behaviours often elicit in othersSpecify behaviours these feelings typically elicit, andDiscuss practical ways for minimising the disruptive impact these people have on your life.

  • What are the factors that make people difficult?

  • Difficult People

    Take 5 minutes in your groups to brainstorm 1 or 2 examples in each of these categories:

  • What makes people difficult?Someone wants something you cant give them Someone wants something you wont give them Someone refuses to listen

  • What makes people difficult?4. Someone makes threats; is disruptive & abusive 5. Someone violates rules or commits an illegal act6. Someone takes a problem to the wrong individual

  • Typical Behaviours that difficult people exhibit?They are insensitive and demanding.They are aggressive and hostile.They are vulgar and insulting.They are hateful, arrogant and demeaning.They are rude and uncivilised.

    They are unresponsive and irresponsible.They are dishonest and conniving.They are uncooperative.They are sensitive, suspicious and intent on blaming someone else.They are stupid and ignorant and blissfully unaware of it.

  • Confronted with such behaviour, how do we sometimes feel?AngryResentfulHelplessHopelessWorthlessFrightenedIntimidatedAnnoyedRevengefulOverwhelmedHostileInferiorThreatenedHurtInsultedFrustratedUsedHateful Etc.

  • How might these feelings incline us to behave?WithdrawNagArgueGive upExplainTalk behind others backsRuminateGossipTry harder to pleasePlot revengeAnd so on

  • How do you define conflict?What words come to your mind when you hear the word conflict?frustrated uncomfortablestressful friction tireddistracting obstacleunfortunate

    unavoidable challengingdirectly flexibleinevitable human politicsnecessary

  • What is conflict?When two or more people do not share the same beliefs, interests, or goalsConflict is natural and inevitableConflict is uncomfortable and stressfulThe goal of conflict resolution is not to eliminate conflict (or the other person) but to handle it constructively

  • Why are people difficult?Feeling thwarted or threatenedExceptional levels of stressYour reactions to their difficult behaviour which reinforces the behaviour by increasing the stress they already feelLearned behaviour (getting their way)Inflexibility (on both sides)

  • What can you do about it?You cant change other peopleLearn to appreciate and draw upon the different strengths of difficult peopleFocus on coping with difficult behaviour (adapting to other communication styles)

  • What are some effective behavioural strategies for dealing with difficult people?Label them.*Neutralise them.*Understand them.Accept them.Inform them.Involve them.Ignore them.Convert them.Avoid them.Expose them.

    Circumvent them.Use them.Persuade them.Confront them.*Rehabilitate them.Discourage them.Ridicule them.Isolate them.Punish them.Fire them.

  • Label them.Why should I?Acknowledges they are differentRecognises their need to be managed, not befriendedInitiates the management processMinimises your unrealistic expectationsReminds you to become emotionally detached Signals need to reach for suitable toolsLegitimises others perceptionsForces you to take personal responsibility

    How can I?Remain sensitive to your own emotional arousal. Recognise the need to choke off your emotional arousal.Imagine a sticky note labeled, A Real Nut attached to their foreheads.View them as impaired (they are).Pity them.Concentrate on observing their behaviour.Reflect on why someone might behave so unproductivelyas a distraction, not as their therapist.

  • Neutralise them.Why should I?Removes incendiary behaviour from an emotionally flammable environmentMinimises their desired responsefear and withdrawalStarves their fireLimits emotional contagionProtects more vulnerable personalitiesMinimises workplace disruptionTakes initiative away from social miscreant

    How can I?Take notes.Avoid eye contact.Act sleepy and bored.Comment on their emotional arousal.Ask them why they are repeating themselves.Ask them what constructive things they have tried.Ask them what they want you to do.Warn them, then hang up the phone.

  • Confront them.Why should I?Challenges others toleranceWorries those who collude with misbehaversDisrupts usual response patternsSignals whos in chargeProvides relief from feelings of helplessnessGives prior victims hopeReaffirms your commitment to organisations stated valuesEncourages others to take the same vigorous action

    How can I?Document their behaviour.Ignore suspected motives, but record behaviour in descriptive detail.Focus on patterns instead of isolated occurrences.Line up witnesses.Give emotions time to dissipate.Nail down the support you need.Confront in love and respect.Refuse to be distracted.Attach consequences and describe next steps.Deliver on your promises.

  • 10 Common Difficult behavioursSherman TanksSnipersExplodersKnow-it-all ExpertsThink-they-know-it-all Super-Agreeables Indecisives Unresponsives Negativists Complainers

  • Sherman TanksAttacking, accusing, abusive, abrupt, intimidating, overwhelming, confrontationalFeel strong need to prove that their view of the world is always rightGet irritated or angry if sense resistanceSee tasks as clear and concreteValue assertiveness and confidence

  • SnipersTeasing, innuendoes, not-too-subtle digs used to make you look foolish in groupsHides behind crowds and social constraintsOften very wittyShare Tanks strong sense of how others should act but is often unrealisticCan turn into a Tank if exposed

  • ExplodersAdult tantrum, rage barely under controlWhen person feels thwarted and threatenedMay cry, be silently enraged, or yell/screamAnger often moves to suspicion and blamingCreates highest amount of resentment among others of all behaviours

  • Know-it-all ExpertsHighly productive, thorough and accurate thinkers, careful plannersBelieve facts and knowledge provide stability; answers lie within themselvesLow tolerance for correction/contradictionCondescending, dont wait for others to catch up to their thought process or seek input from others

  • Think-they-know-it-allsSeek the admiration and respect of others by trying to act like experts when they are notDont always know they are not expertsCurious people; like to learn a little about a lot of things

  • Super-AgreeablesWant to be liked and loved by everyoneMake others feel liked and approved ofTell you things that are satisfying to hearOften use humor to ease conversationSay Yes to everything but often dont deliver because they are over-committedCan secretly be resentful of doing so much

  • IndecisivesPut off making important decisions because they dont want to hurt anyoneHave high standardsStrive to help peopleUsually stall until the decision is made

  • UnresponsivesClose down, even when asked direct question (answer yes, no, I dont know)Clam up when you need a response or expect conversationDifficult to determine why they are silent

  • ComplainersFind fault with everything, complain constantly, accusatory, prescriptiveFeel someone should be doing something but feel helpless to take actionHave distinct idea of what should be doneUsually is some truth to their complaints

  • NegativistsFeel defeated and dispirited as though they have little power over their livesPessimistic, more bitter than complainersBring others down quicklySay Weve tried this before or That wont work without looking for solutions

  • If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships--the ability of all people, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. --- Franklin D. Roosevelt

  • Acknowledge Positive IntentFOCUS ON TASKSControl (to get the job done)Sherman Tanks, Snipers, Know-it-allsPerfection (to get it right)Complainers, Negativists, Unresponsives

  • Acknowledge Positive IntentFOCUS ON PEOPLEApproval Seeking (to get along)Super-agreeables, Indecisives, NegativistsAttention Getting (to get appreciation)Exploders, Think-they-know-it-alls, Snipers

  • 10 Coping MethodsSherman TanksSnipersExplodersKnow-it-all ExpertsThink-they-know-it-all Super-Agreeables Indecisives Unresponsives Negativists Complainers

  • Sherman TanksStand up for yourself without fightingGive them time to run downDont worry about being polite, just get inGet their attention, carefullyGet them to sit downSpeak from your own point of viewAvoid a head-on fightBe ready to be friendly

  • SnipersSurface the attack immediatelyGive the sniper an out (ask questions)Seek group confirmation or denial of the snipers criticismMove on to solve any problems uncovered

  • ExplodersGive them time to run downShow that you take them seriouslyInterrupt the interaction

  • Know-it-all ExpertsDo your homeworkListen and acknowledgeQuestion firmly, but dont confrontAsk