4 Tips For Dealing With Difficult People To Help Deescalate Tensions

In business, we have to work with all kinds of people. As managers, we do our best to hire talented individuals who are good, team oriented and harmonious by nature. However, whether it is an employee in the office at work or customer in the field, it is critical to deal with difficult people effectively so that you are successful in your endeavors.


We have all been there. This person is unnecessarily giving you a hard time, ranting or complaining about something and they are not stopping anytime soon. In this situation, it is never advisable to cut them off or escalate the tension.

How To Deal With Difficult People

To effectively deal with a difficult person, you must have control, composure and compassion. Even if you do not understand why this person is being difficult, it is your job to recognize what is the task at hand and how to accomplish it. This may require you to become very creative in your solution, but it will be well worth it when the job is done.

Don’t Interrupt

First, let the person finish speaking. Do not cut them off or interrupt them. Even if it takes a little bit longer to wait them out, it will save you time overall. Once they are done speaking, acknowledge what they have said and try to empathize with their message. Then, remind the purpose for which you are interacting. Try your best to build a common ground and establish that you must work together if you want to meet your goals. Next, ask for their commitment in working towards that common goal.  At that point, you are either much closer to progress or will have identified an issue that needs to be addressed. Either way, you are moving forward – even if it means having a difficult conversation in the future. This is one strategy taught by The Leadership Institute that will be valuable for your entire life.

Avoid Negativity

Even if you follow these steps, you may still find that negative people are just that – negative. These negative people will have a hard time finding happiness, and often feel plenty of resentment and not enough gratitude. These individuals are not necessarily mean people or selfish people, they just are not in touch with their true self. Perhaps their time management is lacking and this leads to them being stressed and feeling jealousy for those who seem to have it easier.

Discuss The Facts

Whatever the case, you will not have success when dealing with difficult people if you do not trust your gut and avoid agreeing with any of their negative feedback. Yes, of course it is tempting to placate difficult people in business communications as well as personal. However, doing so will almost always backfire. By agreeing with them, you are only adding fuel to an already flaming fire. Instead, try to facilitate improvements by discussing facts instead of always or never statements. Then, once you have the facts, you will be better able to deal with difficult people by channeling that energy into finding a solution with them.

Do Not Smile

You may want to smile out of nerves or discomfort. However, you should definitely avoid smiling when dealing with difficult people. This may give them the impression that you are mocking them. Or, it may make them feel that you are not handling the issue in a professional manner. Make sure you do not smile if you want to successfully defuse an uncomfortable situation with an unhappy person.

Following these steps, you will have control your reaction to someone that may be out of control. This is essential for success in business and in life overall. It is important to note that when you react to someone negatively, you are only bringing yourself down. The only thing you have control over is your own reaction. So make the most of it and don’t forget to listen, empathize and respond with a goal in mind, regardless of whether the issue arrives when you are coworking or when you are out shopping with family and friends.

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