Spend Less Time Being Concerned about Difficult People

Q: How should a person deal with difficult people in the workplace?
A: First, determine whether the person is actually difficult or just has a different style than yours.

Sometimes I will encounter a person who is in a quandary about how to handle someone (at work or in their life) who is very difficult for them to deal with. It’s really important to first determine whether they are actually a difficult person:

  1. Ask yourself why you think they are being difficult. Be honest, so that you are sure YOU are not the one who is in the wrong.
  2. If you feel they are difficult to work with, determine whether you should talk to them, talk to someone you are close to (who might offer an opinion), or discuss it with your manager to see how she or he would handle the situation.
  3. Be sure you act with great integrity so that you do not lower yourself. The greatest improvement comes from the most honest analysis and actions.
  4. If nothing else can be done, turn your focus to how you can do your job more effectively and remember that when you spend too much time thinking about a difficult person, you are robbing yourself of valuable time to accomplish great things for your organization.



  1. Count the number of people on your team who are NOT difficult.
  2. List the number of projects you are working on and who could support you on them.
  3. Look at any areas where you may have been difficult to deal with and come up with a plan for that not to happen in the future.

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The Executive Coaching Experience
by Daniel P. Chiodo
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