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Working with Difficult People
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Working with Difficult People

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  • Working with Difficult People 8/20/02 STC Orange County Chapter presented by Deirdre A. Murr


  • 1. Working with Difficult People
  • 2. Let’s Know……
    • Why people are difficult
    • Types of difficult behavior
    • Coping skills and techniques to help you communicate
  • 3. Why Are People Difficult?
    • People feel
      • Rushed — not enough time
      • Insecure
      • Angry
      • And have some need or interest
    • Stressed!!!
  • 4. Scenario 1
  • 5. A Difficult Person Can Be ...
    • Hostile-Aggressive
    • Know-It-All
    • Yes-Person
    • Whiner
    • Never-Say-A-Word
    • Indecisive Staller
    • No-Person
  • 6. Hostile Aggressive AKA “The Tank”
    • Bullies their way toward the results they want.
    • Belittles you in front of anyone.
    • Tries to convince you that you are doing a poor job when you are doing fine.
  • 7. The Know-It-All
    • Controls people and events by dominating conversation with lengthy, imperious arguments.
    • Tries to find flaws in everything.
  • 8. The Yes-Person
    • Answers “Yes” to every request without thinking about what is being promised .
    • Has deep-seated anxiety and a lot of resentment.
    • Seeks approval and avoids disapproval.
    • And even if all the promises can be kept, the Yes-Person no longer has a life!
  • 9. The No-Person
      • Able to defeat big ideas with a single syllable
      • Deadly to morale
  • 10. The Whiner
    • Avoids taking responsibility.
    • Wants sympathy.
    • Has negative view of the world.
    • It’s important for these people to get their opinions across. If you ignore them, they increase their protests.
  • 11. The Never-Say-A-Word AKA “The Clam”
    • Timid, uncomfortable, and uncertain.
    • Wants to avoid conflict or hurting anyone.
    • Often feels angry because “the wrong decision” was made.
    • Some can’t relate authentically or speak honestly.
  • 12. The Indecisive Staller
    • Could be an overwhelmed “Yes-Person.”
    • Could be a procrastinator.
    • Has reservations about the project.
    • Doesn’t organize or prioritize work.
  • 13. Difficult Person :Coping Plan 1.Assess the “Situation” 2. Stop wishing they were “different”! 3. Get distance between you and the difficult behavior 4. Formulate a plan for interrupting the interaction 5. Implement strategy 6. Monitor coping process 7. Modify or abandon plan, if necessary
  • 14. Dealing with “The Tank”
    • If possible, get them to sit down.
    • Don’t back down. Let them vent. Don’t take it personally. Step away from the emotion.
    • Identify their issue–the facts of the matter.
    • Explain benefits of your point of view. Express your side in factual terms.
    • Allow aggressor to “save face.”
  • 15. Dealing with the Know-It-All
    • Know your facts. Be prepared.
    • Listen carefully and paraphrase the main points.
    • Use questions to raise issues.
    • If necessary, subordinate yourself to avoid static and commit yourself to building a more equal relationship in the future.
  • 16. Dealing with the Yes-Person
    • Work to get to the underlying issues.
    • Tell how much you value them as people.
    • Give them permission to say “No.”
    • Ask them to tell about any aspect of your product that is not as good as the best.
    • Listen to their humor -- hidden messages?
  • 17. Dealing with the No-Person
    • Work to get to the underlying issues.
    • Find out the reason for disagreement
    • Show the other side
    • Show the benefits
  • 18. Dealing with the Whiner
    • Don’t respond if they are blaming you. Don’t sympathize if they are at fault.
    • Make a list of all complaints from constant complainers before you discuss problem.
    • Make sure the facts are correct.
    • Make the Whiner propose solutions to fix the problem.
  • 19. Dealing with “The Clam”
    • Try to draw them out about topics that are non-threatening.
    • Ask open-ended questions.
    • Wait for a response -- calmly. (Don’t fill the silence with your chatter.)
    • If you get no response, comment on what’s happening. End your comment with an open-ended question.
  • 20. Dealing with the Staller
    • Help document their goals and deadlines
    • Listen for indirect words, hesitations.
    • Ask them how you can help them achieve their goals.
    • Follow up on intermediate deadlines. Hold them to the deadlines.
    • Make it easy for them to tell you what is preventing their action.
  • 21. Scenario 2
  • 22. And What About You...
  • 23. It’s All About ATTITUDE!
    • You are not going to change THEM.
    • You will have to work with THEM.
    • You are the one who can make the change.
    • Make it happen!
    • Be Positive
  • 24. Principles of Human Behavior
    • All people are motivated .
    • You cannot motivate others ; you can provide the environment, skills, etc.
    • People do things for their reasons, not ours.
    • We are all different ... Relationships should complement and complete each other.
  • 25. Communication Is The Key...
    • Be clear about what is to be done.
    • Be clear about who is to do it.
    • Two parts to the message
      • Speaker has an image
      • Listener has an image
      • Are they the same?
  • 26. Offline Coping Techniques
    • Don’t take their behavior or words personally.
    • Write down details of what annoys you.
    • Think about why it annoys you.
    • Which of your buttons does this person push? Why do you respond to them in the way you do?
  • 27. Offline Coping Techniques (continued)
    • How would you like to respond? List the advantages of different responses.
    • Monitor yourself.
    • Give yourself positive feedback when you succeed in not getting caught up in the emotions of difficult people.
    • Be a happier person by handling all those you encounter with charm and grace.