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How to deal with difficult people WITHOUT getting stressed

Updated: Aug 21, 2022

We have all been there. You need to have a difficult conversation and are dreading it. The member of staff you need to speak to is truculent, aggressive and difficult to manage. You break into a cold sweat thinking about it.

There is a secret to having these conversations and it is this.

1. Stick to fact. Don’t indulge in speculation or rumour. This will give you confidence in what you are saying.

2. Address the issue, NOT the person.

Manage the problem, not the emotion

For Example: Joe is always late. He is a difficult staff member to deal with but his lateness is becoming an issue. Other staff members notice you are letting him get away with it and your credibility is suffering. Deep down you know you are avoiding a meeting as you fear it is going to be challenging.

When you meet Joe you decide to stick to the facts. He is constantly late and this affects service. Nothing else. You tell Joe his constant lateness is having a knock on affect to your service and cannot continue.

Focus on the BEHAVIOUR not the person. By doing this you are removing the emotion from the meeting. You will find it is easier for Joe as well.

Joe’s lateness does not make him a bad person. Keep focused on the fact of HOW it affects your service. Nothing else.

Tomorrow I will go a little deeper into this scenario.

Martyn Dawes is a Coach, Social Care Consultant, and Author of The Overwhelmed Manager: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do

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