Real Solutions: 20 Ways to Deal with Difficult People

Women tend to like the shortest straight line to getting something done. And when weird behavior gets in their way, they want it straightened out. So, here 20 solutions to deal with whiners, screamers and other workplace miscreants.

1. Remove the blame factor
"Oftentimes, indirect language works because it focuses on the project rather than the person. Instead of saying, 'You need to get it to me,' you can say, 'Reports must be turned in by ...' or, 'Payroll must be completed by ...' That way, people are less likely to feel accused or hounded."

2. Let people know the result of their actions
"When colleagues miss deadlines, I let them know the impact: 'If you don't get it to me until tomorrow, that means we won't have time to check it before shipping to your client,' or whatever. And make sure the impact is in relation to them, not you."

3. Talk in person or by phone
"It's notoriously easy to hit the wrong tone and come off sharp, imperious or brusque in email when you don't intend to. Use the phone or drop by their desk when addressing sensitive issues."

4. Be brief
"When discussing problems, keep it short and direct. It minimizes a stressful situation for both of you."

5. Handle a whiner with tact
"You aren't going to cure a whiner, but you might be able to cure her of talking to you. Don't ask open-ended questions, not even 'How are you?' Limit your greetings to 'good morning' and 'good evening.' And be busy -- all the time. The words 'I'm sorry, I don't have time to chat right now' are your friends. Know them, love them, use them."

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