Vincy Workplace
March 25, 2011
Difficult people Vs. difficult behaviors

What do you consider to be difficult behaviors? Take a moment and think about all the things that people do that can make them seem difficult in the workplace. Here a few tips to address those behaviors.

What to do with people who display difficult behaviors:

1. Separate the person from the behavior. The person is not their behavior. {{more}}

2. Nip it in the bud. Don’t delay and hope for things to get better. Address the issue immediately.

3. Use your listening skills. Walk in their shoes for a little while and see things through their eyes. Don’t jump to conclusions—just listen, then paraphrase and make sure you understand their point of view.

4. It’s not about you. Chances are people who display difficult behaviors may not be aware of it. They have many other issues that affect their behavior or that’s the only way they know to handle an issue.

5. Outline the expectations. Sometimes people just don’t know that certain behaviors are expected of them, so be specific either in a goal/plan or during your appraisal time.

6. Avoid the broken-record syndrome. Address an issue and move on. Constantly discussing it without a consequence trivializes everything.

7. HR/Ombudsperson. When all else fails, take up the issue with the HR department or a mediator. Ensure that the third party is neutral.

8. Positive reinforcement. Always say something positive at the end of the discussion that emphasizes the person’s value to the organization.

Karen Hinds is “The Workplace Success Expert.” For a FREE SPECIAL REPORT on Avoiding Career Killers in the Workplace, send an email to

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