How to Deal with Difficult People Without Going Insane
We all have to deal with difficult people at some stage and if you are in the business of marketing and growing a brand, chances are you will come across a few challenging people at one stage or another. Whether it’s a difficult customer, supplier or someone who works within your organisation, learning a few strategies for dealing with difficult people can help you move your business, and career, forward without going insane.
Here are three quick survival tips I’ve picked up over my years of working with all sorts of different people.
- Learn how to listen actively. While you might be sick and tired of that complaining colleague droning on about her list of woes, active listening can help diffuse a difficult situation by making the other person feel acknowledged and heard. This is especially useful if you’re in a confrontational situation. Instead of getting defensive or arguing your point, try waiting for them to finish and then repeating their main points back to them. This puts you both on the same page and allows you to start working towards a resolution.
- Get all the details in writing. If you have a client or other person you’re dealing with who you know is flaky or tends to change their mind or renege on the details, make sure you get everything in writing. Not only does this ensure you’re covered in the event that they try to backflip and blame you, it also means everyone is on the same page right from the beginning and makes miscommunication less likely.
- Check in regularly. If you have a client or co-worker who tends to blow up unexpectedly, checking in with them regularly can be a good habit to get into. This will reassure them that you are invested in their project as well as giving you the opportunity to divert any potential issues before they get out of hand and become a drama.
At one time or another we all come across people who are hard to deal with and it can be extremely stressful. If you have a client or co-worker who is vague about details, frequently gets angry and blames you or is otherwise challenging to deal with, think about how you can reduce the impact of their behaviour on your organisation and you personally.
While you might not be able to change the way the other person behaves, in many cases you can reduce the effect it has on you and prevent their issues affecting your business.