Is dealing with difficult people a problem for your startup? Everybody has a bad day someday. Let’s talk about how to cope when they unload on you.
Dealing with difficult people
When someone gets upset for whatever reason; you must first address their feelings; then you can address their problem.
- Avoid feeling emotional yourself – Stay calm – Learn to stay away from people who lose control frequently
- Listen carefully
- Try to understand the other person’s position
- Listen more
- Pick the situations that you really need to address
- When appropriate – Only use the word sorry in a complete sentence that includes the other person’s name
- Make a statement that expresses empathy – I understand what you mean (or feel). The empathy must be perceived as genuine or you have made the problem worse
- Try to create rapport; for example … I will report this to X …. – But – Do not agree with someone who is out of control
- People are driven by emotion. So respond with genuine empathy and work for rapport. This may not resolve the issue. But it should mitigate.
- Do not become negative. Stay on the high ground.
- Allow no more than five minutes for the other person to vent. Then move on to the steps below.
- Unfortunately you cannot stay silent. That implies agreement to the one who is upset and to any audience.
- Establish yourself as a problem solver who will help if they are calm. Try to refocus the interaction as a problem solving discussion. This may not work as well as you wish
- Restate the part of their statement that is true and ask them to agree.
- Keep the focus on them; not on you
- Try some relevant/appropriate humor
- Start leading the discussion in a good direction
- Remember to stand up to bullies. But be careful about doing it alone
- If a situation is known in advance; you might read up on identifying and setting consequences
- If all else fails – Shut down the conversation by cutting them off
- 8 Tips For Dealing With Difficult People
- Ten Keys to Handling Unreasonable & Difficult People – 10 Strategies for Handling Aggressive or Problem Personalities
- Difficult Conversations: How to Discuss What Matters Most by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton, Sheila Heen, November 2, 2010Keywords:
, Difficult people, Difficult Conversations