Top tips for dealing with difficult people in the workplace

How can you effectively deal with difficult people and ensure that you are getting the best out of every employee and in turn increase productivity? Here are my top tips:

  • Don’t Delay: as with almost every HR issue ignoring or procrastinating on a situation does not work. Where difficult people are concerned it can actually get worse with time. Deal with the situation immediately to ensure the difficult behaviour does not escalate
  •  Be objective: do not let personal opinion or emotion cloud your judgement
  • Investigate: does a pattern exist? Are there any trigger factors that cause the individual behave badly? There may be underlying reasons for the behaviour and identifying them can be the key to resolving the situation
  • Speak to the ‘difficult person’ informally: this will also help diffuse the situation quickly. It is easy to look at the bad but give the employee the benefit of the doubt and ask them what the issues are from their point of view as well as pointing out tactfully that there is a problem
  • Conduct regular follow up: this ensures that the problem does not recur
  • Focus on the actionable: look at decisive steps that you can take to correct the situation e.g. re-distribution of work, addressing the team dynamic etc.

Don’t forget our forthcoming Dealing with Difficult People and Conversations Workshop.

If you have ever been in a difficult situation or feel you would like to be well prepared should a situation arise in the future then you cannot afford to miss this workshop. We will outline the dangers of ignoring the issue, the importance of acting promptly and will give you five key tips to help you prepare for difficult conversations. In addition, we invite you to bring your ‘difficult conversations’ with you for us all to discuss in our open forum.

This event is taking place on 13th September at the Hennerton Golf Club. For more information and to book your place please contact me at