by Colleen Kettenhofen

Patience is the greatest of all virtues.
~ Cato the Elder

There are very few things that are certain in this world. Difficult people seems to be one of those few certainties in life. These people seem to make everything just so much harder. Frustration, even anger, are normal responses. However, if you want to effectively deal with difficult people, patience is the key!

Difficult people can be employees who seem to fight you at every turn. They can be bosses who don’t seem to listen or are extraordinarily demanding. Difficult people may even pick fights, without any reason at all or complain constantly. Whatever form your difficult people take, chances are dealing with them is challenging.

Patience is Sometimes Easier Said than Done When Dealing with Difficult People

Although keeping your patience is the key to dealing with difficult people, it also can be one of the most challenging things to accomplish. Difficult people typically have an aura of tension about them, even when there’s no need for this tension. For this reason, “keeping your cool” is often easier said than done!

Don’t worry if you find dealing with difficult people… difficult. That’s normal. We’re programmed that when we’re pushed, we push back. However, if you want to deal with these people more effectively, you have to be patient.

Why Patience is Important When Dealing with Difficult People

Losing your patience with difficult people will only escalate the situation. Oftentimes, these people enjoy, at some deep level, the conflict they create. By contributing to the conflict, you only give them what they want. You feed the fire, as it were. This only gives them more incentive to continue being difficult. By staying calm and holding onto your patience, you don’t buy into their game. Once they see that they can’t rile you up, it often takes some of the wind out of their sails.

Additionally, by being patient, you can keep a clearer head. Sometimes difficult people, despite being difficult, actually do have points to make or ideas to share. If you’ve succumbed to their difficult nature and lost your patience, chances are you’ll be too busy being irritated to really hear the valid points they have to make.

Ways to Keep Your Patience When Dealing with Difficult People

When dealing with difficult people, if you feel your patience slipping, take a deep breath. Remind yourself you’ll have nothing to gain by losing your cool. Instead, focus on the points you can agree with the difficult person. Be extra pleasant. Killing them with kindness is often a good way to change their attitude. Also, show that you empathize with their situation. Sometimes difficult people are difficult because they feel unappreciated and that no one else understands them.

About Colleen Kettenhofen, Leadership Expert

CREDENTIALS: Colleen Kettenhofen is an international workplace and employee management expert, award-winning corporate trainer, and conference keynote speaker. A media veteran, she has appeared on numerous radio shows around the country and has written more than 40 popular articles on diverse workplace issues. Colleen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She is the author of 10 published audio programs and two books including SECRETS YOUR BOSS ISN’T TELLING YOU.

Colleen Kettenhofen is available for keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars by calling (971) 212-0479.