Managing Difficult People with Steps 9 to 10

Managing difficult people is without a doubt, an absolute challenge for all of us. We have previously looked at many of the 12 Steps in Preparation and Planning in Managing Difficult People. We have looked more closely at many of these steps in different posts – Steps 1 to 2; Steps 3 to 4; Steps 5 to 6; and Steps 7 to 8. Now in this blog post we will now be considering the Steps 9 to 10 in managing difficult people.


Do not get caught up in playing mind games and swimming in muddy water when Dealing with Difficult People. This will claim all your time and energy and divert your focus from actually dealing with people. Decide that your actual aim and goal to be as open and honest as you possibly can and keep the waters clean and clear.

Attempting to be deceptive will seriously damage your reputation with everyone else. Remember a good reputation can take years to develop and minutes to destroy. So don’t get involved in trying to play deceptive games, it is just too exhausting to be dishonest.

Be yourself and be clear, honest and open in all your relationships with people in your personal and working life.


Along with your determination to remain honest and open, goes the need to be respectful. Dealing with difficult people always stretches your ability to still be respectful towards these people that you find so frustrating and so annoying. But be aware, abusing other people and being disrepectful only confirms a lack of control on your part. Make sure to strive, no matter how very hard it seems to always be respectful in your communication in dealing with people, particularly those who truly stretch your patience to the limit. This does not mean that you put up with unacceptable behaviour from others. But it does mean that you do not resort to similar unacceptable behaviour as these difficult people.


Certainly difficult people do always make it a real challenge to remain honest, open and respectful. But this must be your own personal goal. Now in the next post we’ll consider the final two steps in your 12 steps in preparing and planning for managing difficult people.

2 comments… add one
  • Jack (name changed to protect the identity) Link

    Dr. Judy,
    I need some sound advise. I am a nursing supervisor for a large hospital. We are going through a transition in management for our department. The new manager is also the manager for an area that my department supervises. A individual in that area is a person that I have tolerated only because she is having a affair with a person that I work with and consider a “friend”. Same sex. It doesn’t matter but they insist on “shoving it down my throat”. I don’t appreciate this and have told them both that I don’t care about their relationship but come to work to get the job done. I have never shared my feelings with anyone. Now that we share the “new” manager, I have been written up by this person and my job is on the line. The basis of all this are false and I can prove it! The point is that I am on the defense for all the wrong reasons. I am not interested in “outting” them but how in the world do I defend myself? This new manager is very offensive and hostile. She has informed me that I can not talk to anyone regarding the allegations made. In our meeting she called me a lair and a impaired nurse. I am not a liar and I don’t even take asprin for a headache. I asked her to do a screen for drugs/alcohol and she ignored my request. She went as far as saying that I need help!!!!! This is the most frustrating situation I have ever been in. I live payday to payday and don’t want to lose my job. She has given me paperwork that involves a 5 day suspension without pay. All of it is unsubstanuated and false, based on this one persons complaint. I can prove it all but my ability to get support is not available due to being told that I am not to discuss this with anyone. If I could, I would have a huge amount of support. This “new” manager has been over our department for 3 weeks. What do you suggest?

  • Hi Jack

    This certainly sounds like a very difficult situation for you and all concerned. Without knowing the precise details of the issues and situation I can only provide some general thoughts. This is not to be considered as advice or counseling regarding this situation.

    If you are working in a large hospital it would be very likely that the hospital has a range of steps and procedures in dealing with grievances relating to such internal matters. These procedures often involve Human Resources staff that are
    independent of the parties involved.

    It is important that you find out who is responsible in the hospital for such grievances. Also, such procedures require you to document the issues, grievances, etc – so you may consider starting to record/write down information relating to the situation.

    The matter may be adequately resolved by your manager for all parties. But being aware of the procedures within the hospital on such issues would be useful for you both now and possibly in the future. Having this knowledge is an important place to start.

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