Working with Difficult People

Learn How to Work with Difficult People in a Work Environment
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  • Lectures 104
  • Contents Video: 1 hour
    Other: 2.5 hours
  • Skill Level All Levels
  • Languages English
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About This Course

Published 6/2012 English

Course Description

This Working with Difficult People training class teaches students to recognize and address situations with co-workers, staff, and supervisors that result from problematic behavior. Students will be introduced to strategies that proactively set the stage for a problem-free work environment and minimize the negative impact of difficult behaviors. Students will discover tools and techniques that promote realistic expectations, maintain a peaceful working environment, encourage constructive feedback, and help resolve conflict when it arises.

Class Goals
  • Explain the role of personality in the workplace.
  • Explain the impact of difficult personalities.
  • Illustrate the communication process.
  • Describe the effects of broken communication.
  • Apply constructive feedback and conflict resolution skills in a variety of situations.
  • Formulate a set of proactive boundaries and consequences for given workplace situations.
  • Learn methods for handling conflict when it occurs.

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Curriculum

Section 1: The Impact of Unhealthy Personalities
Article
Personality and Behavior Personality is different from behavior, but it affects behavior. Personality influences how we respond to information and experiences and is demonstrated in the way we express ourselves; it is a "style." Behavior, on the other hand, is specifically what we do in different si…
Article
Workplace Environment Performance and Morale It is well known that attitude is contagious and impacts the environment around us, yet the environment we work in is directly related to our productivity. Not only that, but work environment has been shown to be almost as important to employees as pay. A…
Personalities and the Workplace
Preview
03:32
Article
The Environment Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about personalities and the environment. 1. An environment in which a manager dictates how a staff member will do a task is called a(n): A. Oppressive Environment B. Overly Competitive Environment C. L…
Article
Answers: A. Oppressive environment C. The environment B. How we express ourselves and D. A style D. Decreases morale
Article
Personal Application Duration: 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will contemplate the questions below regarding work environment. 1. Imagine a workplace void of personality. Would you enjoy working in that environment? Why or why not. 2. Describe your work environment. Do you have any problems in yo…
Article
Morale and Turnover The Role of the Supervisor Many will say that employees do not leave their jobs; rather, they leave their bosses. This happens because: Some supervisors lack managerial skills. The supervisor's own supervisor does not delegate enough authority to manage well. The lack of skills o…
Morale and Turnover
03:38
Article
Morale and Turnover Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about turnover. 1. What can be inferred if a supervisor inconsistently manages a staff member who exhibits difficult behaviors? A. The supervisor is having a bad day. B. The supervisor has not been…
Article
Answers: B. The supervisor has not been trained C. Their supervisor failed to keep promises A. Training and D. Creating and posting job ads and marketing for the position
Article
Personal Application Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions about turnover. 1.  How would you describe the current morale and turnover in your company or department? Do any of the listed supervisory issues apply? 2.  Does the morale contribute to turnover?…
Article
Legal Implications Some difficult personalities have the potential to cause legal problems. Oppressive personalities use various forms of harassment and intimidation to achieve their own goals. An oppressive person's goal may be: To build himself or herself up by tearing another person down. To forc…
Legal Implications
03:32
Article
Legal Implications Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about the legal implications relating to difficult personalities. 1. Match the following descriptions with their behaviors that are, or soon may be, illegal by federal or state law: A. Descriptions:…
Article
Answers: 1. i. Verbal, nonverbal, psychological, physical abuse and humiliation, and ii. Bullying ii. When someone fears going to work because of the offensive, intimidating, or oppressive atmosphere generated by the harasser, and i. Hostile work environment iii. Discrimination relating to race, col…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following scenario. It is very important to know what options are available to us should situations get too difficult. As supervisors, we need to be aware of what is available to our staff. Do you know what state laws…
Article
Hidden Costs to a Company The majority of costs to a company are not obvious. The hidden and indirect costs of allowing disruptive behaviors in the workplace are very high. They include the following: Decreased Productivity Anyone who has experienced challenging behaviors at work can tell you how it…
Article
Hidden Costs to the Company Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about turnover. 1. What four major factors affect the number of hours of direct service one can expect from an employee? 2. What factor causes an increase in both sick leave and FMLA? 3. Wh…
Article
Answers: 1. Four major factors that affect the number of hours of direct service one can expect from an employee are: A. Vacations A. Sick leave B. Meetings C. Holidays 2.  Stress can cause an increase in both sick leave and FMLA. 3.   C. A grumpy employee
Article
The Benefits of a Healthy Environment The benefits of a healthy environment should not be underrated. In an environment where personalities work cooperatively as a team, employees are motivated and want to be at work. Transforming a workplace environment from unhealthy to healthy can reduce costs by…
Costs and Benefits to the Company
03:57
Article
The Benefits of a Healthy Environment Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about healthy environments. 1. Which of the following is not benefits of a healthy environment? A.  An increase in employee loyalty. B.  A decrease in turnover. C.  An increase in…
Article
Answers: 1.  C. An increased in mental health days. 2.  B. Word of mouth advertising (word of mouth advertising is direct advertising).
Article
Personal Application Duration: 20 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1. Imagine your own work environment without the negative effects of difficult people. If you are not experiencing a difficult personality, think about another department that is challenged in thi…
Section 2: Understanding People
Article
To be able to address problems with people, it helps to understand them. Understanding a person is not the same as agreeing with the person, or agreeing with his or her behavior. It simply means: We can identify the negative behavior and the effect of the behaviors. We realize why people act out as…
Personality Types
02:23
Article
Personality Types Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about personality types. 1. Which of the following is false: A.  People should not show their personality in the workplace. B.  Leisurely people are lazy. C.  The best team is composed of people with…
Article
Answers: 1)  D. Personalities have strengths and weaknesses. 2) 1.  Conscientious and iii. Destructive perfectionism. 3) 2.  Self-confident and v. Self-inflation, lacking empathy. 4) 3.  Devoted and vi. Feels hopeless, sad. 5) 4.  Dramatic and viii. Exaggerated emotions, seeks attention. 6) 5.  Vigi…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 30 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1. Think about your personality and the personality of another person in your workplace. A. Write down two strengths each of you possesses. B. Write down two weaknesses each of you demonstrates fr…
Article
Recognizing Destructive Behaviors It is very important, especially from a managerial perspective, to acknowledge that destructive behavior may be taking place even if workers do not complain. The willingness of people to speak out about issues has a direct correlation to the perceived safety of the…
Article
Destructive Personality Styles Authoritarian Authoritarian personalities are seen in people who consider themselves right in nearly all circumstances. They place "being right" at a higher priority than getting along with other people, and certainly higher than compromise and collaboration. The autho…
Recognizing Destructive Behaviors
02:17
Article
Recognizing Destructive Behaviors Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about destructive behaviors. 1. Some behaviors are seen in multiple personality types. Which personalities use guilt? A.  Authoritarian B.  Dramatic C. Lethargic D. Pessimist E. Manip…
Article
Answers: 1.  B. Dramatic and E. Manipulator 2.  H. All of the above
Article
Personal Application Duration: 20 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1.  Fill in the chart below using people you have encountered at work or in your personal life who exhibits each of these destructive behaviors. Use yourself if you know you have destructive trait…
Article
Understanding Motivation for Difficult Behaviors Motivation initiates habitual, repeated, and new behaviors. Most motivation is, at its core, self-serving. While this sounds bad, it really is not, because often the resulting behavior serves others. For example: Philanthropists feel good after helpin…
Understanding Motivation
03:36
Article
Understanding Motivation for Difficult Behaviors Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will match the motivation to the behavior that fits best. 1. Motivation A.  Self-preservation B.  Self-promotion C.  Self-defense D.  Self-stimulation E.  Self-reward F.  Self-fulfillment 2. Behavior A.  Brag…
Article
Answers: 1.  A. Self-preservation and E. Gossiping about a competitor 2.  B. Self-promotion and A. Bragging about one's skills 3.  C. Self-defense and F. Interrupting repeatedly in a disagreement 4.  D. Self-stimulation and B. Playing a radio too loudly 5.  E. Self-reward and C. Taking excessive bre…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 20 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1.  Think about something you really like to do at work.It can be a task, a break-time activity, a committee responsibility, etc. Answer these questions in relation to that activity: A.  What moti…
Section 3: Communication
Article
The Communication Loop There are six components of communication that we will review. The sender. The receiver. The message. Feedback. Noise. Filters. The Sender The sender is the originator of the message. The Receiver The receiver is the person intended to receive the message. The Message The mess…
The Communication Loop
02:59
Article
The Communication Loop Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about the communication loop. 1. List the six components of communication. 2.  Match the following: A. Terms i.  Feedback ii.  Filters iii.  Noise iv.  Message B. Definitions i.  Distracts, and…
Article
Answers: 1.  The six components of communication are: A.  The sender B.  The receiver C.  The message D.  Feedback E. Noise F.  Filters 2.  The following are the correct matches of terms and definitions: A.  i. Feedback and iv. Tells the sender a message has been received correctly. B.  ii. Filters…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1.   Consider a recent situation in which you experienced poor communication. A.  What was the environment? Was there noise? Did the sender or receiver have filters that blocked the communication?…
Article
Different Forms of Communication There are many ways to communicate, the majority of which do not involve words. According to Mele Koneya and Alton Barbour, authors of Louder than Words: Nonverbal Communication  (Interpersonal Communication series. Columbus, OH: Merrill), oral communication is: 7 pe…
Forms of Communication
02:05
Article
Different Forms of Communication Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about the different forms of communication. 1. If a person is scowling and clenching fists, he or she probably is: A.  Happy B.  Afraid C.  Angry D.  Depressed E.  Tired 2. If a person…
Article
Answers: 1.  C. Angry 2.  B. Familiar with the other person. 3.  A. Look down, E. Drop his or her shoulders, and F. Sigh.
Article
Duration: 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following: 1. Do a web search for "body language" and select three different images. A.  What positions are the people in? B.  What are they communicating with those positions?   2.  Do a web search for "Facial language" and select three…
Article
Constructive Feedback Unless a message is a broadcast to distribute information or sent for entertainment purposes, one should always provide feedback to let the sender know that the message was received and the message was understood. Feedback may be: A simple, "Okay." A request for more informatio…
Constructive Feedback
03:33
Article
Constructive Feedback Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about constructive feedback. 1.  Which of the following is false: A.  Parroting tells the speaker the words that were heard. B.  Paraphrasing tells the speaker the words were understood. C.  Parr…
Article
Answers: 1.  C. "Parroting is better than Paraphrasing." is false. 2.  C. You do great work. What do you need to help you meet the deadlines? I know you want to.
Article
Personal Application Duration: 20 minutes. In this exercise, consider the following questions. 1. Do a web search for S.M.A.R.T. goals/objectives. A. What does each of the acronyms mean? B. Write a SMART objective for an employee, a co-worker, or for for yourself in a way that will be well received.
Article
Feedback and Communication Tools A few feedback techniques were discussed in the last section. These included 'I' statements, paraphrasing and parroting. We will now look at some more skills and tools that can be used to improve communication. Patience Good communicators will take time to understand…
Communication Tools
01:38
Article
Feedback and Communication Tools Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about constructive feedback. 1.  Which of the following rephrases this sentence best: "The complicated process needs to be changed, but to change it we need to go through the proper pr…
Article
Answers: 1.  C . We have to go through the proper channels to make the needed changes to the process. 2.  A. Active listening
Article
Personal Application Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will... 1. Look at a picture on the wall, in a book, or just look out the window. A. Describe the image that you see. Pay attention to how many words you are using.
Section 4: Setting Boundaries
Article
Boundaries Boundaries are limitations on what we will or will not accept from others. Like a boundary set by a fence with a gate, relational boundaries allow positive things into our environment, and keep negative things out. A boundary consists of an expectation and ensuing consequences. Some commo…
Boundaries
02:31
Article
Boundaries Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about boundaries. 1. Which of the following is not a boundary? A.  A backyard wall B.  A book C.  A country's borders D. Skin   E.  A water glass F.  A book cover   2. Choose the statement that best explain…
Article
Answers: 1.  B. A book 2.  C. To protect the ability of workers to perform their job duties well.
Article
Personal Application Duration: 10 to 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1.  Have you ever felt resentful toward someone at work? Do you know why? Resentment is a result of broken boundaries. A.  List situations that annoy you or cause you resentment. B.  For eac…
Article
Communicating Boundaries and Consequences A person who is feeling resentment toward another because of the other person's behavior has an obligation to communicate their concerns to that other person. However, communicating boundaries can be challenging, especially if one is working with someone who…
Communicating Boundaries
02:08
Article
Communicating Boundaries and Consequences Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about the boundaries and consequences. 1.  Match the following: A. Terms i.  Emotion ii.  "I" statements iii.  Feedback iv.  Expectations v.  Positive vi.  Problem vii.  Neut…
Article
The answers to question 1 are as follows:   A.  i. Emotion and iv. Avoid B.  ii. "I" statements and i. Reduce defensiveness C.  iii. Feedback and vii. Positive D.  iv. Expectations and v. Realistic E.  v. Positive and ii. Attitude F.  vi. Problem and vi. Not person G.  vii. Neutral location and iii.…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will... 1.  Refer to the list of situations you created in the Exercise 25. A.  Write a boundary for each, including: i.  Your expectation. ii.  What the consequence will be if the boundary is respected. iii.  What the consequence will…
Article
Negotiating Terms When reasonable boundaries (expectations and consequences) are communicated, most people will: Accept the boundary. Understand the rationale. Agree to the boundary. However, a person may object to the boundary if he or she feels the boundary creates problems. When trying to work wi…
Negotiating Terms
06:48
Article
Negotiating Terms Duration: 10 to 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about the negotiations. 1. Which of the following are not a personal responsibly? A.  Behaviors B. Attitudes   C. Atmosphere   D.  Emotions E.  Thoughts   2.  True or False: A.  The goal of ne…
Article
Answers: 1.  C. Atmosphere. 2.  Answers are as follows: A.  The goal of negotiations is to get what we want. False B.  If something hurts a person's feelings, it shouldn't be done. False C.  Helping a person too much rescues them from their responsibilities. True D.  Consequences are a punitive conc…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following question. For each boundary created in Exercise 27, list everything you can think of that is negotiable.
Article
Enforcing Boundaries The most difficult part of maintaining a healthy boundary is enforcement. Enforcing a boundary may trigger conflict, and conflict can be quite uncomfortable. Whenever possible, consequences should be enforced; however, in some situations the choice may be made to not enforce a b…
Enforcing Boundaries
02:31
Article
Enforcing Boundaries Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about enforcing boundaries. 1.  Consequences should enforced if a boundary is broken by: A.  Accident B. Cost C.  Principle D.  Habit E. Severity   2.  When a boundary is broken and consequences a…
Article
Answers: 1.  D. Habit 2.  B. People will continue to break boundaries and C. Trust id broken.
Article
Personal Application Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following. Using one of the boundaries you wrote in Exercise 27, describe a situation in which the boundary should be enforced and a situation in which the boundary might be negotiated. Remember the considerations tha…
Article
Measuring Behavior It may be helpful to define measurements for behavior to: Determine whether boundaries and consequences are appropriate. Remove as much emotion from a situation as possible. Measurements can be qualitative or quantitative. Quantitative measurements may be used if one expects: A ta…
Measuring Behavior
01:25
Article
Measuring Behavior Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about the measuring behavior. 1.  A rubric is: A.  Used exclusively for performance evaluations. B.  An objective measurement tool. C.  A small, square puzzle.   2.  True or false: A. Qualitative me…
Article
Answers: 1.  B. An objective measurement tool. 2.  A.  Qualitative measurements are easier than quantitative measurements. False B.  Quantitative measurements are easier than qualitative measurements. True C. Measuring behavior is judgmental. False D. In all situations, we should follow our heart to…
Article
Personal Application Duration: 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will complete the following rubric. Complete the rubric below for a situation you know of that involves the behaviors of a difficult person. Situation: Boundary: Boundaries Rubric Unacceptable Behavior Tolerable Behavior Acceptable Beh…
Article
Confronting the Difficult Personality A difficult person, particularly one who has a reactive personality, can be challenging to confront. Most people prefer to avoid confrontation and dislike uncomfortable situations. Some interesting things about people with difficult personalities and behaviors a…
Confrontating Difficult People
04:01
Article
Confronting the Difficult Person Duration: 5 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about confronting difficult people. 1. Which of the following may be beneficial when confronting a difficult person? A.  Informing someone about the conversation. B.  Offering refreshm…
Article
Answers: 1.  A. Informing someone about the conversation, C. Speaking in low tones and D. Escalate the issue to a higher authority 2.  B. Using neutral tones and body language, and E. Rescheduling the meeting when feeling intimidated.
Article
Personal Application Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will consider the following questions. 1.  It's beneficial in all aspects of our lives to be able to manage emotions. Consider a time when you confronted a difficult person and became emotional during the process. Analyze the dynamics…
Article
Negotiation Techniques In the previous lesson we talked about negotiating boundaries. Here we'll address techniques and best practices for negotiation. There are three parts of negotiation: 1. Process, or how negotiation takes place. The process of negotiation is three-fold: Preparation Negotiation…
Negotiation Techniques
03:28
Article
Negotiation Duration: 10 minutes. In this exercise, you will respond to the following questions about negotiation. 1.  The three parts of negotiation are A.  Preparation B.  Negotiation C.  Substance D.  Conclusion E.  Process F.  Behavior   2.  True or False: A.  Negotiations should always conclude…
Article
Answers: 1. The three parts of negotiation are: A.  Substance B.  Process C.  Behavior   2.  True or False: A.  Negotiations should always conclude with a written contract. False B.  A successful agreement maintains a working relationship. True C. Negative emotions can trigger irrational behavior. F…
Article
On Your Own Duration: 15 minutes. In this exercise, you will... 1. Reading through the five negotiating styles, which one fits your personality the most? A.  Has your negotiating style limited your ability to successfully negotiate? B.  Write down your negotiating strengths and weaknesses. What can…
Article
Mediation In general, children are discouraged from tattling on other children. Parents do not want children to run to them every time another child does something he or she perceives as wrong. The reason for this is to teach the children: Not to be moral judge and jury of other children. To communi…

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