How do I manage a difficult person in the workplace (or in life)?

Of all the questions I get asked about managing people, this one would have to be at the top of the list.  “How do I manage person x? They are just so difficult.”  It’s one of the aspects that I spend a lot of time on with my coaching clients.

Difficult people suck life and energy out of the working (or other) relationship. They can make the workplace a tense or unpleasant place to be. They can take up a disproportionate amount of time and energy to deal with; often with less than optimal results.

I have talked before about being open and providing people feedback and the opportunity to improve.  But, another useful approach is being able to identify specifically what type of person you’re dealing with, and tailoring your approach to that person.

Many of you know that I also own another business — Help Me HR with a wonderful business partner. This year, we created a series of infographics to help with difficult situations at work.

The one below can help with the difficult people in your workplace (or dare I say, in your life!). Check it out:

So, this week’s takeaways:

  • In general, the key to managing any difficult person (or situation), is to not let it go on too long. Do something about it. Don’t hope it will just magically resolve itself. Sometimes (rarely) it does, but usually it just gets worse.
  • Think about the specific situation, the specific person. Is there something in the infographic above that could help?
  • Remember that sometimes the hardest thing is just getting started. So, take a dose of courage, and create a plan of action. Get help if need be. Speak to your manager or HR, or get some external help to help you frame up a plan to move forward.

Until next week, happy leading.

Have you got questions, or would like to take the next step? Simply get in touch for a friendly, obligation-free chat, and/or :

Sign up to my free mini course :
– Be A Better Boss In 7 Days

Check out my year-long accountability program:
– Permission To Achieve Your Dreams

Read my books:
– Enterprise Agreements – Made Easy
– Do What You Say You’ll Do

Want more?

If you’d like to receive my musings on all things leadership and culture related and beyond, pop your email address in below. To say thank you for sharing, you’ll immediately receive a free chapter from my book, and a free infographic on the ten tools of leadership.

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