Dealing with difficult people

Every now and then we all have to deal with people who send our blood pressure soaring, and who push our tolerance levels to the limit, if not beyond.

If these people are work colleagues it can be even more difficult to cope, because we cannot often avoid contact with them.

If not handled effectively, these people will often occupy a disproportionate amount of your time, effort and energy.

So what can you do? How can you understand them and their behaviour, how can you influence their behaviour and manage your own emotions so you don’t react.

The following tips may help us manage these relationships better:

Understand them

  • Ask yourself why they have this effect on you and if they have a similar effect on others
  • Gauge how they see you and how are they coping with their own work

Listen to them

  • Understand what their objectives are and what are their frustrations
  • Think if you should you modify the way you speak to them

Remain calm

  • Even if they raise their voice, don’t follow suit. Answer as though they had spoken to you normally
  • Don’t provoke them

Keep it Short

  • To begin with, talk to them in small doses
  • Try to avoid long meetings unless absolutely necessary

Prepare an Escape

  • Have a reason ready to break the conversation and arrange to resume at a later time
  • Do not give offence by the way you break off

Have a Release Valve

  • Don’t bottle it up
  • Find a way of calming yourself down quickly

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