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How To Deal with Difficult People

Learn to manage challenging situations better

Key learning outcomes:

  • Understand that learning to deal with difficult people may increase your productivity.
  • Assess your own behaviour if you find you are dealing with difficult people on a regular basis.
  • Recognise the benefit of listening carefully and remaining calm in potentially heated situations.
  • Identify situations where it may be necessary to alert a superior to an employee’s obstructive behaviour.


We all at times have to deal with someone we find difficult. It might be someone at work, a family member or just someone we meet in our daily life. Learning how to deal with difficult people more effectively will not only make your life easier, but it will also help you to be more productive and successful when you are not having to overcome the hurdles these people put up. It is important to remember that the faster you recognise the signs that someone is going to be difficult, the faster you can react, so you can prevent the situation escalating or turning into a conflict. In this article we take you through some simple tips and tools you can use to deal with difficult people more effectively.

Understand what you can and cannot change

One of the first steps in dealing with difficult people more effectively is to understand that there are some things that you cannot change. You cannot change how someone else may behave, act or speak, but you can change how you react. There is an old saying “negativity loves a friend”. Often a difficult person is looking for someone to join them in their negative mindset. By not giving them the reaction they are looking for, you are already on the right track to dealing with them effectively.

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