Managing Difficult People

I can’t tell you how many Managers have told me how frustrated they are with the attitude or behaviour of a member of staff.

Without exception, delegates on every workshop we run talk to us about how they are struggling to deal with difficult employees, colleagues, customers, suppliers or bosses! The perplexing thing is that it seems no matter what you do, he or she does not appear to improve , if anything the situation gets worse. As Managers we tend to focus on ‘poor’ employees, investing a disproportionate amount of time in trying to ‘fix’ them. The truth is, it is rarely as simple as ‘fixing’ someone. It is much easier to modify our own behaviour than to change someone else’s…

To fix a problem relationship there are four options…
• Change your attitude
• Change the attitude of others
• Change your behaviour
• Change the behaviour of others

Attitude is based on our core values and beliefs and so is very difficult to influence. Behaviour is easier to change, we can influence the behaviour of others and in theory, we have complete control over our own behaviour. Therefore the easiest place to start is with our own behaviour.

Although it sounds counterintuitive, quite often, changing the way we act can actually solve problems we have with our ‘difficult people’.

Taking a look in the mirror and understanding our own style and preferences (and how these may be perceived by others) is a good place to start when trying to improve relationships. This doesn’t mean we need to compromise our values or change how we feel, it’s about modifying our approach to get the results we want.

Here are my top tips for improving relationships and resolving conflict;
1. Be aware that what you see and hear is your perception and not everyone will see and hear the same things.
2. The best way to engage and connect with someone is to recognise what they want to be valued for.
3. Listen. That’s it really. Make sure you have heard and understood what is really being said. All may not be as it seems…

Learning about the style and preferences of others and developing techniques to adapt can be a very powerful way of building strong relationships and reducing conflict. If you’d like to learn more then please give me a call or email me. We work with clients through our open workshops, team development and one to one coaching.
07804 892951