In my book “Secrets Your Boss Isn’t Telling You,” I reveal seven magic “wands” if you will, for dealing with difficult people. During this holiday season, many participants in my keynotes and seminars on leadership have asked me for tips on dealing with difficult people in the workplace, and in general. Here’s one suggestion for that…

Do what you can to refill the well so Emotional Vampires don’t drive you batty!

     In a tough economy, everyone experiences adversity from time to time–whether it’s caring for a loved one, job insecurities, reduced incomes, managing a difficult employee and more. Maybe it’s that you’re “hanging in there” and dealing with a difficult boss. People seem to be working harder than ever…and complaining more. You’ve undoubtedly known people who come to work and complain about their home life, then go home and complain about their professional life! What a never-ending day!

     But what if you’re working as hard as you can both at work and at home and feeling underappreciated? As someone who has previously been in the role of caregiver as well as running a speaking, coaching, and consulting business, I understand. And I empathize with the hard work single parents do, even though I’m only “mom” to two wonderful dogs. As Mother Teresa said, “There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread alone.”

     So, what do you do when you feel underappreciated–especially when dealing with difficult people? Mark Twain said it best. “When you cannot get a compliment any other way, pay yourself one.”

     Look in the mirror. And what I’m about to say, I say respectfully. You are the only person responsible for how you feel. Ultimately, you can’t control what someone else will–or won’t–say to you. Indeed, some people get so focused on their needs, they’ll never be able to appreciate you. Heed this saying: “You can’t ask a naked man to give you the shirt off his back.” Some people simply don’t have love to give back because they don’t love themselves first.

     So treat yourself with small rewards for a job well done. Refill the well and don’t let Emotional Vampires drive you batty. Difficult people are Emotional Vampires who suck the life out of you. And it can take days, weeks, or months to recover if you don’t do something positive to blunt their impact and counteract their bitter aftertaste. (Do you recall my earlier blog on this topic? Start there.)

     What can you plan this weekend that would boost your happiness quotient? Drive to the beach or mountains, splurge on a pedicure or manicure, spend time with your significant other, see a movie with supportive friends. Simply don’t let difficult people get you down. One of the secrets to successfully dealing with difficult people is to remember that you choose your response–both inwardly and outwardly. If you keep dissecting what Emotional Vampires said or did to you, you’re giving them power over you.  Remember, the person who constantly angers, frustrates, or intimidates you actually controls you.

     A highly sought-after speaker, author, and executive facilitator, Colleen Kettenhofen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs before thousands in 48 states and five countries. Why is Colleen such a popular speaker at conventions, sales and leadership meetings? She blends humorous slice-of-life stories with practical insights that are easy to put in place immediately. For speaking availability and fees, please contact Colleen at (623)340-7690.