Posts Tagged ‘workplace communication skills’

Dealing with Difficult People – It’s Difficult

Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

Sherri Petro, President and Chief Strategy Officer of VPI Strategies, represents VPI Strategies on the Expert Panel for Managing Americans. is a management blog with more than 140,000 readers. Sherri contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.


dealing with difficult peopleIt seems to happen in a lot of workplaces. Someone is difficult. It can be a client, peer or (gulp) your boss.  Or it could be that incommunicative guy in the mailroom, the gossipy sales person, the surly receptionist or the aggressive fill-in-the-blank that puts a crimp in your day.

Might be that new Gen Y that asks too many questions, texts too much and talks too little. ENTITLEMENT! Could be the very direct Gen X who leaves the desk at 5 PM with work still to be done. UNCOMMITTED!  How about that Baby Boomer who called the two hour meeting so she could introduce a new process and all you’re concerned about is getting to the bottom line? TALK, NO ACTION!

In workshops I have conducted it is evident that the concept of being difficult is user-defined.  While there may be some similarities in types, what difficult means depends upon one’s own triggers.  From, “He punched his fist through the wall!” to “She doesn’t say hello each morning,” difficult is relative.  It behooves us to think of why the person triggers our reaction.

What is it…an attitude, a behavior or a lack of aptitude? Are they not doing their job?  Are they trying to do yours?  Is their energy too negative, too positive or too …blah? Identify your trigger so you can manage your own behavior.

Sounds simple enough, but the truth is that many want some magic bullet for getting along with them or simply have them disappear. Since door number two is unlikely, let’s deal with door number one. According to the authors of “Dealing with People You Can’t Stand”, Dr. Rick Brinkman & Dr. Rick Kirschner, there are four approaches when coping with difficult people:

    1. Do nothing
    2. Walk away
    3. Change your attitude
    4. Change your approach in dealing with them

Read the full article about Dealing with Difficult People on Managing Americans.


Written by Sherri Petro on . Posted in Blog

better emotional is a management blog with more than 140,000 readers. Sherri Petro contributes monthly to the Workplace Communication Skills Blog and is one of the most highly read columnists.


You know you want to.  In fact you’re dying to pop off some expletives that would make Mom turn ten shades of red.  Whether you receive news about a coming reorganization, unrealistic client deadline or one of your peers being absent AGAIN, you’ve been triggered. Whatever you’re thinking at this exact moment, don’t say it.  And, please, please, please don’t e-mail it or text it either. Easy up on that trigger finger, pard’ner.

The news you received is out of your control.  Swearing up a storm may relieve your pressure, but it could make your peers mighty uncomfortable. Talk about ruining that personal brand you have been trying so hard to create!

This is about increasing your emotional intelligence.  Just how great of a teammate or promotable person are you if you lose your cool?  Why diminish your chances — certainly not in a situation that is uncontrollable — even though it may seem like perfectus momentus for a rant? (Can anyone else hear Kelly Clarkson belting out “A Moment Like This” right now?)

How about taking another tact?  There are choices that won’t get your butt in a sling with your coworkers, cause you to be labeled a misfit or possibly omitted from the promotable list.  What can you do instead?

Here is Sherri’s advice on five steps to better emotional intelligence featured on the Managing Americans Blog.