A couple of weeks ago, focus on the primary characteristics of difficult people were accessed. This week the discussion concludes by simply sharing some genuinely expressed tactics proven by science to be helpful when there are moments in life when dealing with difficult people is inevitable.
When in the company of difficult people, personal kindness and limits to the amount of exposure are essential. What is also imperative is that though sometimes tough to do, the idea of being kind and gentle to ourselves must include an approach to be kind, gentle, and understanding toward others.
Resilience as a research topic lends concentration on the prevention of hardship and how to maneuver through hardships, both mentally and physically, should they occur. Difficult people can be taxing to the mind and body. And may even be in the space where applying crises intervention methods are applicable. Although crisis intervention methods are usually used in short-term counseling or offer other psychological support after a traumatic event, it is likewise a critical concept to apply when dealing with difficult people during trying situations.
When crises interventions are in use while exposed to a difficult person, it is suggested that we:
- Identify the problem. Problems are identified through careful listening, empathy, compassion, genuine kindness, and acceptance. Listening does not mean pressuring.
- Ensure that everyone involved is safe. To be safe means that we assess our own psychological strength and the psychological ability of the difficult person. It is equally as crucial to have physical space.
- We provide support by not judging the individual/individuals. We do not laugh or smile. These behaviors could appear condescending. We confirm statements by gently repeating what the individual is saying. For instance, statements such as “Am I understanding that you _____________. Is this correct?
- Speak on influential alternatives to the situation. Always use the words “Let’s or Let us.” These words show understanding of the individual’s pain. Be sure that you are not being manipulated in the situation. Become familiar with narcissistic behavioral patterns, gas lighting, and core manipulation. Having a witness during moments of mediation is also suggested.
- For leaders, offer a follow-up plan to help reduce the pain the problematic person has expressed. In this plan, be sure to apologize if there are cracks in your managerial approaches. Be sure to do this with a member of Human Resources/People Operations present. For everyday concerns, having a witness is likewise a necessity.
- After these methods are applied, be sure to follow up if needed. In office environments, secure a commitment from the difficult individual that with future problems, a meeting is given with you with and a witness present. Commit also to change personal approaches and communication styles. Communication consists of both verbal and behavioral methods.
One description of conflict aptitude is “the ability to develop and use cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills that enhance productive outcomes of conflict while reducing the likelihood of escalation or harm.” (1)
Simply put, dealing with difficult people includes helping to create a sense of calm, understanding general needs, offering reasonable care, making practical suggestions, provide information on available resources if needed, and a commitment to change should this be necessary.
- Runde, C., & Flanagan, T. (2010). Developing your conflict competence: A Hands-on guide for leaders, managers, facilitators, and teams. Jossey-Bass.