Dealing with difficult people

by Elise Stevens | Futureproof Your Career Podcast

We’ve all worked with difficult people. Some believe they’re always right, others will say yes to everything but rarely deliver, some are dictators, other are more passive, and most seem to find all the problems but no solutions.

Elise Stevens has plenty of experience dealing with difficult people in project management.  From passive-aggressive stakeholders to colleagues with huge egos, she’s had to navigate all kinds of toxic relationships while maintaining her own boundaries, protecting her self-worth and ensuring the work gets done!

In this podcast she speaks to human resources expert Renee Henville about how to remain professional when dealing with difficult people and bring a calm, clear head to emotionally charged conversations.

Points raised in this podcast:

  • There are many types of difficult people, and they will almost always try to form alliances to feed their ego.
  • Difficult people use emotion to actively try to pull others into their issues. They like to whinge and do not proactively seek solutions to their problems.
  • Dealing with difficult people is stressful and can cloud our judgement and influence our decision-making.
  • Try to distance yourself from difficult people and set boundaries that protect your self-worth.
  • Asking questions and listening without judgement allows people to feel as though they have been heard.
  • When pressure is building with a difficult person, it’s wise to walk away for 10 minutes and allow the tension to diffuse. When you return to the conversation, be sure to focus on facts rather than emotion and ask them to do the same.
  • Consider how you react to situations and seek feedback from colleagues you trust to make sure you’re not contributing to the problem.
  • Sometimes it can be useful to wait a while before you respond to a difficult person. Sleep, recharge and approach the issue the next day with a calm, clear head.
  • Choose your battles wisely and when a relationship or situation is not improving, take it to a manager or mediator.

About Renee Henville:

Renee Henville is the Managing Director of Integrated Human Resourcing and has built a solid foundation as an expert human resource professional and has expertise in developing strong rapport and trusting relationships with all stakeholders within a client’s business; with a focus on ensuring that employees are aligned to the business strategy to ensure ongoing business success. Renee has demonstrated and vast experience in all aspects of the employee/employer relationship from a generalist human resources perspective.

Renee has a Bachelor of Business majoring in Human Resources and Organisational Psychology, Diploma of Human Resources, Diploma of Training and Assessment, DISC Advanced Accreditation and is a member of AHRI and Femeconomy.

Over the last nine years, Renee has organically built her HR practice to now providing ongoing HR and Recruitment support to over 90 companies nationally – client businesses with two employees to 450 employees. Based on the Gold Coast, Integrated HR has a total team of four HR professionals who truly love what they do.

You can connect with Renee on LinkedIn.