Dealing with Difficult People: Use these sample phrases to craft meaningful performance evaluations, drive change and motivate your workforce.

Dealing with Difficult People is learning how to tactfully calm down an obnoxious person who is either verbally attacking you or stealthily criticizing you or your professional contribution.

Dealing with Difficult People: Exceeds Expectations Phrases

  • Takes a deep breath before responding to an argument in order to collect one's thoughts and calm one's emotions
  • Takes a bit of time to let one's stress level decrease before sending digital messages when upset
  • Discusses the issue at hand somewhere neutral or a place with an activity in order to limit negative face-to-face interactions
  • States own needs clearly and assertively without giving the other person the opportunity to twist or manipulate one's words
  • Keeps one's cool and avoids resorting to name-calling no matter the response of the other person
  • Sticks to the facts without feeling the need to explain oneself; states a clear narrative that isn't bogged down with too much detail or emotion
  • Avoids being defensive when arguing with someone and keeps the situation as neutral as possible
  • Brings a third party into the conversation when one is not able to deal with the person who caused the situation
  • Increases own frustration tolerance by challenging irrational beliefs that may make one to become angry, stressed or lose one's cool
  • Practices empathy by stepping back and reflecting on how one would feel in the other person's shoes, instead of judging them immediately

Dealing with Difficult People: Meets Expectations Phrases

  • Thinks about what one is going to say before one says it and what the goal for the conversation is
  • Redirects the conversation or situation to something positive by focusing on something else other than what the argument started about
  • Does not disagree with impossible people; looks for ways to be agreeable with them or just ignores them in order to avoid fights
  • Avoids angering a difficult person as much as one can or giving them a reason to lose their temper
  • Asks the difficult individual a question regarding the issue, such as, "Why do you feel this way?" in order to show them that one is willing to find the source of the disagreement
  • Speaks to a potential mediator, to help improve the situation, when one is not making headway with someone and needs to do so
  • Learns the person's strategy and develops counter strategies ahead of time, when one cannot avoid the situation
  • Avoids confrontational body language, such as maintaining eye contact for long periods of time or making aggressive gestures
  • Considers interactions with difficult people as a way to build strengths such as grace, flexibility, and tolerance
  • Does not share anything personal with an impossible person even when they seem normal or act like a friend

Dealing with Difficult People: Needs Improvement Phrases

  • Reacts with extreme emotion such as crying which stimulates the other person to do more of the difficult behavior
  • Judges a difficult person as right or wrong immediately without first putting oneself in their place
  • Listens to what the impossible person says instead of focusing on people who make one feel good and valued
  • Stresses about the difficult person all the time, even when one is taking a day off
  • Does not make boundaries to let the difficult person know what is okay and what is not, and what would happen if boundaries are crossed
  • Does not try to figure out what is it about the difficult person's personality that one doesn't like thus one is not able to pinpoint ways to deal with him/her
  • Takes the reactions of a difficult person personally and allows oneself to become emotionally charged in reaction to him/her
  • Does not know how to use defense mechanisms such as humor in order to diffuse an uncomfortable situation
  • Humiliates and confronts a difficult co-worker in front of others instead of approaching them privately and trying to find where the problem is
  • Does not know how to choose own battles; confronts difficult individuals with pride even when one knows they are not going to win the argument

Dealing with Difficult People: Self Evaluation Questions

  • Is there a time when you have had to deal with a difficult person at work? What was the problem? How did you go about it?
  • Can you describe a time when you have had a conflict at work? How did you solve it? What could you have done to avoid it?
  • Is there a time when you have had to respond to an unhappy customer? How did you deal with him/her?
  • Describe a time when you had to disagree with a new rule in the company? How did you present your argument?
  • How would you deal with a team member who is always picking fights with others or is difficult to work with?
  • When you work with a group of people, disagreements are common. Can you describe a time when you handled a disagreement in your workgroup? How was it solved?
  • How comfortable are you with dealing with different opinions from different people? Describe a time when this happened at work
  • How would you deal with a team member in your group who constantly talks more than all the others? Is there a time when this ha happened at work?
  • What are some of the techniques you have used or things you have done to improve your ability to handle difficult people?
  • How do you differentiate between a person who is deliberately difficult from one who is difficult due to some stress he/she is going through?

Written by on