Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Human Relations at Work

Through my multi-cultural working experiences in the Middle East and the UK, I have come across a number of difficult people, colleagues and managers. But, we don't always have a choice, we can choose our friends, neighbours, and jobs. We can not choose two things: our families and bosses.

Certainly difficult people will give you hard times, horrible situations to overcome. However, by understanding people, how they tick, what they think and why they act like they do, we can avoid the bad times and overcome awkward issues.


To cope with difficult people, I try to list the difficult types we come across and how to respond (reference: Robert Bramson, author of Coping with Difficult People), here is his guide;


  1. The hostile 'Sharman tank'; always maintain eye contact and don't worry about being polite get in anyway you can.
  2. The hostile 'sniper'; don't focus on their point of view, involves other and have regular problem solving meetings.
  3. The hostile 'exploder'; give them time to run down, if they don't, cut the tantrum with a neutral phase such as 'Stop!'
  4. The complainer; listen attentively to their complaints even if you feel guilty or impatient, don't apologise for their allegation, but be serious and supportive. 
  5. The silent and the unresponsive; Ask open ended questions and wait calmly for a response.
  6. The super agreeable; listen to their humour. There may be hidden messages in those quips or teasing remarks.
  7. The negativist; don't argue them out of their pessimism, be alert to the potential, in yourself and the others in the group, for being dragged down into despair.
  8. The know-all; make sure you have done a through job of preparing yourself, review all relevant materials and check them for accuracy.
  9. The indecisive; listen for clues to the problem, make it easy for them to tell you about the conflicts or reservations that prevent the decision, when you have surfaced the issue, help them solve their problem with a decision.

The first rule;        There is no such thing as a difficult person, there are just people we need to learn how to deal with.

The second rule;
Re-read the first rule.

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