53993517_ff46bfcd89_o I recently had to do some reading on “How to deal with difficult people” and when I googled the term, the following articles appeared on the first page. I don't know about you, but when I'm trying to find something I usually end up with about 18 tabs open at once. I am hoping that this summary saves you a little bit of tab-surfing effort. You will find each article's title, author, link and main points included in the text below. I edited out most of their content, to give you an idea of the big picture. To get the detail, simply follow the link to the original post. This blog-post is not intended to have scientific or academic integrity but rather summarise some popular viewpoints about the topic of dealing with difficult people.

Forbes: 8 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

Kevin Kruse highlights the following points: Link to article

  1. Don’t get dragged down
  2. Listen
  3. Use a time limit for venting
  4. Don’t agree
  5. Don’t stay silent
  6. Do switch extremes into facts
  7. Move to problem solving
  8. Cut them off

Psychology Today: Dealing with Difficult People

Nando Pelusi shares these tips: Link to article

  1. Ask the antagonist what exactly he/she is upset about.
  2. Agree with a kernel of truth in the complaint.
  3. Defend without a defensive tone
  4. Offer to the difficult person your best guess as to what he or she is feeling, and ask for feedback.
  5. Resist the urge to fight to win the argument. Listen and ask questions.

Wikihow: How to Deal With Difficult People

Wikihow articles are typically edited by a range of people. Here are the main points: Link to article

  1. Focus on what you can control. If you’re confronted with a difficult person, remember that if you can’t change them, you can at least change how you react and perceive them.
  2. Look at your own behavior
  3. Try to become more aware of your own perception of others.
  4. Choose your battles wisely.
  5. Pause for a moment and breathe.
  6. “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar”
  7. Talk to your peers about it.
  8. Make sure to use “I” sentences. Keeping the conversation focused on your experience will make it seem less accusatory.
  9. Talk to your superiors.
  10. Never curse. Cursing will only make the other person angry and even worse, make you look like you’ve lost control.

About.com: How to Deal With Difficult People at Work

Susan M. Heathfield writes: Link to article

  1. Start out by examining yourself.
  2. Explore what you are experiencing with a trusted friend or colleague.
  3. Approach the person with whom you are having the problem for a private discussion.
  4. Be pleasant and agreeable as you talk with the other person. They may not be aware of the impact of their words or actions on you.
  5. Follow up after the initial discussion. Has the behavior changed? Gotten better? Or worse? Determine whether a follow-up discussion is needed.
  6. You can confront your difficult coworker’s behavior publicly. Deal with the person with gentle humor or slight sarcasm.

Oprah.com: How to Deal with Difficult People

Deepak Chopra writes: Link to article

  1. First, take responsibility for your part of the interaction.
  2. Next, try to name what specifically causes the difficulty. Is the person clinging, controlling, competitive?
    • Clinging types want to be taken care of and loved. They feel weak and are attracted to stronger people. If desperate, they will cling to anyone.
    • Controlling types have to be right. There is always an excuse for their behavior (however brutal) and always a reason to blame others. Controlling people are perfectionists and micro-managers. Their capacity to criticize others is endless.
    • Competitive types have to win. They see all encounters, no matter how trivial, as a contest. Until they win, they won't let go.

The Harvard Business Review: The Secret to Dealing With Difficult People: It's About You

Tony Schwartz shares the following: Link to article (Note: You have to register on their website to access the articles. The free plan lets you access 3 articles per month. I can highly recommend their content.) The painful truth when it comes to the people who trigger you is this: You’re not going to change them. The only person you have the possibility of changing is yourself. Each of us has a default lens through which we see the world. We call it reality, but in fact it’s a selective filter. We have the power, to view the world through other lenses. There are three worth trying on when you find yourself defaulting to negative emotions.

  1. The Lens of Realistic Optimism:
    “What are the facts in this situation?”
    “What’s the story I’m telling myself about those facts?”
  2. The Reverse Lens:
    “What is this person feeling, and in what ways does that make sense?”
    “Where’s my responsibility in all this?”
  3. The Long Lens:
    “Regardless of how I feel about what’s happening right now, how can I grow and learn from this experience?”

Dumblittleman: 9 Useful Strategies to Dealing with Difficult People at Work

Celestine Chua shares the following tips: Link to article

  1. Be calm.
  2. Understand the person's intentions.
  3. Get some perspective from others.
  4. Let the person know where you are coming from.
  5. Build rapport.
  6. Treat the person with respect.
  7. Focus on what can be actioned upon.
  8. If all else fails ignore.
  9. Escalate to a higher authority for resolution.

Techrepublic: 10 tips for dealing with difficult people

Calvin Sun writes: Link to article

  1. Try not to take things personally.
  2. Ask questions rather than make statements.
  3. Have supporting evidence in writing.
  4. Ensure understanding and communication.
  5. Use appropriate phrases when needed.
  6. Use "I" rather than "you ".
  7. Separate the issue from the person.
  8. Be assertive rather than obnoxious.
  9. Turn the tables.
  10. Express appreciation when appropriate.

Hofmeyr de Beer is the Marketing Manager for the JvR Africa Group

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