Dealing with Difficult People in the Workplace

Insights on Dealing with Difficult People in the Workplace: Live Discussion Recap

May 7, 2021

Most of us have had at least one experience dealing with difficult people in the workplace. On Thursday, April 29, ROI hosted an open, live discussion with managers and leaders from a variety of organizations.

Through a heartfelt and engaging discussion around real-life experiences and current situations, we discussed strategies and gained insights and ideas to better deal with difficult people in the workplace.

Discussion Findings – Dealing with Difficult People in the Workplace

You are not alone. Difficult people exist in all positions within the workplace. This may be a direct report or an executive coming from a place of power.

Sometimes it’s best to walk away. It may be a tough decision (given the unknowns), but often times something better is around the corner.

Consider a performance plan. As a manager, you may have to put the “difficult person” on a performance plan or exit them from the company. If they are not a fit, other employees will be grateful.

Give the benefit of the doubt. Give the difficult employee the benefit of the doubt. Let him/her know that you believe they want to be successful and work with them on new behaviors to try in the future. – Plan your conversation. Speaking up about a difficult employee can be challenging. , Try scripting what you will say to remain calm and unemotional.

Share your perspective. When you speak up, let the person know how what they did or said made you feel. They may not be aware.

The What and the How are connected. Oftentimes difficult behaviors are overlooked because the person gets results and may even be promoted. Help the individual/organization understand that what they do and how they do it are inextricably linked.

Consider a coach. Coaching can be very effective. Where possible, get the difficult person a coach. An objective third party may be able to help them understand their behavior, how it impacts others, and offer strategies and language that is easier for co-workers to hear

More Tips on Dealing with Difficult People

As a Manager:

As an Employee:

  1. Address the behavior
  2. Set clear expectations
  3. Don’t punish people for coming forward
  4. Use 360-degree feedback tools
  5. Hire an executive coach
  6. Hold them accountable
  7. Exit them if necessary
  1. Don’t take it personally. Toxic before you came along. Run by fear and is a cover. Can’t solve their problems but you can manage your reaction. You have control of yourself. Remain calm.
  2. Keep Human Resources informed
  3. Keep a written record of activities and decisions
  4. Acknowledge positive behavior.

Watch the Introduction to the Discussion:

Fill out the form below to watch the video

Take a Quick Assessment

Check out this quick assessment to evaluate your organization handles conflict.