Friday, September 22, 2017

Managing Difficult People and Some Words of Advice

by DrJudy on

Managing difficult people in your life is a process that all of us seem to go through at sometime.  Dealing with difficult people in the work setting might mean handling your difficult boss, employees, colleagues or customers.

On the other hand, you may be dealing with difficult people in your personal life such as your partner, parents, children or other extended family members.

ADVICE FROM JOHN ON THOSE DIFFICULT PEOPLE

No matter what direction they come from and who they are, you do need strategies to effectively deal with the frustration, anger and distress they often cause you. 

One of our readers, John has sent through two strategies he sees as important in dealing with people. Let’s consider John’s gift of advice and ideas.

JOHN’S VERY FIRST SUGGESTION ABOUT EFFECTIVE LISTENING

Here is what John had to say.  “With regard to managing difficult people,  I like to believe that effective listening would be one of the most important factors in dealing with difficult people. Without listening properly, one would tend to assume or jump to the wrong conclusions which may not help to address the real cause”.

EFFECTIVE LISTENING IS VERY, VERY HARD FOR US TO DO

John is right about effective listening, it is a very important skill in handling anyone, especially those people you find difficult to deal with.  However, it is probably one of the most complex skills to master.  As always, when your emotions are triggered by another person.  You feel hurt, furious, anxious or demoralized and then trying to effectively listen to that person is so, so hard.  But it certainly is a skill worth pursuing in handling anyone.

JOHN’S SECOND SUGGESTION ON UNDERSTANDING HUMAN BEHAVIORS

Here is the other suggestion from John.   “Another useful application would be to have more understanding human behaviors.  It would be great if one can probe why a person is getting difficult or beyond reproach.  Occasionally, some of those behavioral science courses do provide an in-depth case study.  A person could be difficult due to poor sense of belonging, unhappy childhood upbringing.  Or perhaps, neglected during their early formative years.  We will never be able to know the true causes until we get to the rock bottom of each difficult person.  Hope that these inputs might be useful to you.  Thank you for keeping the communications open.  Best Regards,  John”.

UNDERSTANDING BELOW THE SURFACE

Again John makes an excellent point about the need to understand more about human behavior and going beneath the surface.  Many times what you experience from another person – their anger, annoyance, disparaging remarks and much more are often the surface behaviors to more underlying issues and problems.  Sometimes  when you are able to get underneath the behavior you can gain a greater understanding of why this person is acting in such an obnoxious way.  This does not excuse the behavior but certainly gives you a greater understanding in dealing with that difficult person.

HAVE YOU SOME IDEAS TO SHARE ON DEALING WITH PEOPLE

Thanks John for sharing your excellent ideas.  Have you got some further ideas to add on dealing with people?  We would be delighted to read your thoughts.  Just click on ‘comments’ and add your thoughts, ideas and suggestions too on managing difficult people.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Rebecca May 21, 2010 at

There is definitely a line to be drawn with listening to a difficult person. Over the years I have found that many difficult people will definitely take advantage of having a willing listener.Instead of just voicing their relevant problem, they end up voicing ALL of their woes! Sometimes it is necessary to find a solution very quickly & end an escalating situation, rather than be a perfect listener.

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