Blog Post

Is it time to bring out the worst in people?

As leaders and managers there is nothing more rewarding than dealing with positive, motivated employees who just want to do a good job. But what happens when we are faced with the difficult side of people? The phrase “I wouldn’t want to get stuck in a lift with ….” exists for a very good reason, we all have a natural tendency to avoid the difficult and the negative and gravitate towards those who are easier to deal with. Not only can difficult people sap our energy, time and mood, they have devised clever and innovative ways to do it. Consider for a moment the office moaner, the sniper, the stone waller, the sulker, the exploder, the shirker and not forgetting the silent assassin.

There are a number of books dealing with the issue of difficult people and they will all tell you the same thing, which is to tackle it head on, quickly and effectively. But we also need to be aware that behind most difficult behaviours there is a human being trying to get out. Our behaviours are driven by factors that sit well below the surface such as our beliefs, self esteem, values, feelings and the general life experiences which have moulded us along the way.

In his book Dealing with People You Can’t Stand; How to bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst – Rick Brinkman provides a number of tips to address difficult behaviours and to turn conflict into cooperation:

  • Try to understand why difficult people act the way they do.
  • Adjust your communication style so people understand what is expected of them.
  • Identify which communication tactic will be most effective depending on which behaviour they’re showing.
  • Be aware of actions and behaviours which can trigger difficult behaviours.
  • Avoid becoming defensive or defeated.
  • Bolster your courage when dealing with difficult people – be brave and stay calm.

Many of these tips involve basic management and leadership competences including communication, influencing, team development and coaching as well as the confidence and resilience to deal with these situations.

It is also worth remembering that management is all about people and sometimes we simply have to bring out the worst in someone in order to understand how to bring out their best. 

Leave a Reply

Two Sixty

Coaching & Development

Registered Office:

Two Sixty Limited
1 Richmond Road
St Annes on Sea

Telephone: 0161 408 7011
Registered in England No: 5766631

Enquiry Form

Enquiry Form