Course Outcomes

This course for handling difficult people will:

  • Outline the communication process and where breakdowns most often occur.
  • Explain “the agreement frame” and how to use it.
  • Suggest tactics to avoid problems before they occur.
  • Offer a five-step process for dealing with conflicts.
  • Provide solid steps for building and maintain a positive attitude.
  • Propose strategies for managing anger and stress.

Course Overview

In an ideal world, difficult behaviors would not be tolerated at work. In reality, dealing with difficult people is something many people face as part of their everyday lives.

Without the command solid coping mechanisms, the stress of handling difficult people and tough situations can create a lack of productivity, poor attitude, and reluctance to come to work.

This interactive workshop provides tools for handling all types of workplace behavior problems brought about by whiners, time wasters, intruders, and gossips.

Through hands-on activities and practice exercises, participants learn how to deal with a wide range of challenging situations.

Note: For people interested in virtual delivery, we offer a similar course called  Taming the Tank: Skills for Handling Tough Customers and Difficult Interactions in an online instructor-led format.

Program Objectives

At this program’s conclusion, participants should be able to:

  • Articulate how their attitudes and actions impact others.
  • Demonstrate how to use agreement to frame a situation.
  • Discuss coping strategies for dealing with troubling people and complex situations.
  • Identify times when they have the right to walk away from volatile situations.
  • Employ techniques for managing and dealing with anger.

The following outline highlights some of the course’s key learning points. As part of your training program, we will modify content as needed to meet your business objectives. Upon request, we will provide you with a copy of the participant materials prior to the session(s).

Workshop Outline

Why Is This Difficult?: Uncovering Problems

This program opens with a series of questions: what causes someone to be difficult, why do people fail to address conflict, and what skills are necessary to address problems professionally?  Once those questions are answered, the participants will highlight any specific concerns and shape the agenda for the session.

This for That: Understanding Reciprocal Relationships

This portion of the program examines the idea that in a relationship with another person, our expectations are likely to become self-fulfilling prophecies.  In other words, what we think will happen often does.  During this discussion, we will talk about the importance of staying positive and expecting good interactions, even when dealing with people who have demonstrated a history of challenging behavior.

Getting to the Heart of the Problem: Digging Deeper

Why don’t people just do what they are supposed to do?  Great question, and guess what?  It’s one that has lots of answers.  In this part of the course, participants will consider this question and possible answers to it.  Next, they will identify tactics for addressing each of the situations they identified during the previous discussion.

Picture Perfect: The Agreement Frame

In this part of the course, we will look at a fundamental tool for acknowledging others and showing them respect.  Without those two elements, it is highly unlikely that difficult people will change their behavior. Whether it’s “I agree, and…,” “I respect what you’re saying, and…,” or “I appreciate your point of view, and….” before you can sway someone to another point of view, you must acknowledge them and their beliefs.  In this part of the course, we will look at specific language for building respect and practice using agreement as a tool for diffusing difficult situations.

The Best Maintenance: Preventing Problems

A lot of problems can be stopped before they start if careful attention is paid to understanding others, their concerns, and points of view.  During this workshop segment, we will look at dangerous misconceptions people have about others and how they lead to trouble.  We will also discuss proactive methods for addressing concerns.

The Five-Step Process: Resolving Conflicts

A big part of successfully navigating a conflict is having a well-thought-out plan.  In this part of the program, we will look at a five-step process for resolving most conflicts. From determining a strategy to resolving issues and moving on, participants will practice planning a conflict-management conversation.

Attitude Adjustments: Changing Yourself

Being resilient when dealing with difficult people has a lot to do with how you view the encounter.  In this seminar segment, we will look at proactive strategies for managing negative feelings and maintaining a sense of control during challenging interactions. 

Just Relax: De-Stressing Options

To conclude the program, we will look at stress-management tools and coping skills for handling anger in a proactive and positive way.

By the end of this program, participants should understand the primary reasons most difficult people are difficult, they will also understand the specific steps they can take to manage relationships professionally with these individuals.