Ideally, collaborating with a team of people is an inspiring and productive process. Each person brings his or her own ideas and strengths to the group, and everyone cooperates seamlessly to reach shared goals. Of course, working with a group can also be challenging when you bring together many individuals, often of different generations and varied behavior styles.
It can be stressful and complicated for a manager to stay focused on the tasks at hand while trying to diffuse conflicts among employees. The Dealing With Difficult People course maps out, step by step, the best approaches to communicating with challenging personalities.
Here’s a glimpse into the skills-based course:
Focus on Behavior
The first step is to focus on an individual’s behavior rather than on the individual’s personality. If he feels as if he is being attacked, he will become defensive and you will lose an opportunity to have an effective conversation. Before addressing a difficult behavior, take time to reflect on a few questions:
- What is the specific behavior you have difficulty managing?
- Who is affected by the behavior?
- What are the results of the behavior?
- Why do you think this person engages in this type of behavior?
- How does the behavior hinder your ability to manage?
- Are you the only one who struggles with this behavior, or have others noticed it as well?
- Does your management style seem to make the behavior worse?
When approaching this person, keep your responses to these questions in mind and remember that he most likely wants to have a harmonious working relationship as well. Speak assertively and communicate your viewpoint clearly, but also ask questions and remain open to the other person’s opinions and ideas. The more you can listen to each other, the more progress you will make. Focus on how the behavior can change positively in the future instead of dwelling on past mistakes. Take the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and move forward.
Learn more about how the Dealing With Difficult People course can help your organization.