Real Solutions: 20 Ways to Deal with Difficult People


12. Deal with a screamer
"Tell the screamer that the way she is speaking to you is making it difficult for you to understand what she wants and how to do your job professionally. Then you can say, 'I know the two of us want to be professional at all times.'"

13. Watch your language
"Don't make an explosive situation worse by describing someone's behavior to them with value-charged words like 'rude,' 'uncaring' and 'yelling.' Instead use more neutral descriptive words like 'loud' or 'abrupt.' You can say she seems impatient or rushed. And you can sympathize by saying, 'It looks like you have a lot on your mind.'"

14. Create measurable goals for difficult employees
"Create a set of expectations for their behavior over a predetermined period. These goals should be measurable and specific, rather than vague. For example, instead of saying, 'I expect you to improve your attitude,' say, 'There will be no more incidents of raising your voice to another employee.'"

15. Stop gossip
"Generally, I respond to all gossip and other such subjects with 'Oh, really?' and then change the subject or get back to work. Gossipers just want to stir up trouble and they need attention and fuel to keep the conversation going. If you don't respond, they move on."


16. Be friendly without getting too close
"You don't have to be bosom buddies with everyone at work. It is important to have a friendly relationship with your coworkers, but look for emotional fulfillment in your 'real' life, away from work."

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