6 ways to manage difficult people

1. Focus on what you want to happen, not on how you feel. The emotional response always kicks in first, but the trick is not to act on it.

2. Schedule a meeting to discuss the problem. Often, that’s the hardest thing to do. You hope the problem will resolve itself. Usually it doesn’t, and by the time you do meet, pent-up emotions are hard

to control.

3. Give the difficult person his due. Validate him as a person. Before you start, make it clear you empathize and that you are listening.

4. Ask the employee what he needs to help him improve. If nothing else, the question will force him to stop reacting and start thinking.

5. Model the type of behavior you want. Moody employees rarely remain negative if they’re managed by unrelenting positive leaders. Exhibit the kind of upbeat, forward-looking professionalism you expect from your staff.

6. Don’t get sucked under. Beware of making difficult employees your own personal reclamation project.

By investing lots of time in trying to change them, you risk alienating more positive workers.