RESOURCES - How to Handle Difficult People by Terence Mauri

When you face and resolve the problem yourself, you feel wonderful. You are in control of your life. You not only conquer the opposition, you conquer your fear. Few accomplishments are more satisfying than confronting someone who is difficult to face and handling the conflict.

How to Confront and Handle Someone

By getting organised and working out a plan of action, confronting and handling people becomes much easier. The key is your preparation.

L. Ron Hubbard

Follow these seven steps to prepare yourself for dealing with the difficult people in your life.

1. Make the decision to face up to the person directly and by yourself.

2. Write down the exact problem you need to handle and your goal for the confrontation.

Examples of problems to be confronted that you might write down:

'Joe is refusing to pay me despite our agreement.'
'Chris is hurting office morale and causing me stress with her continual complaining.'
'Bob is supposedly telling people that my work is inferior and I am dishonest.'
Once you specifically name or identify the problem, write down a goal for the meeting. 'By the end of the meeting, I want . . . .'

Examples of goals or objectives you might want as a result of a confrontation:

'Joe pays me in full.'
'Chris stops complaining or leaves.'
'Learn the truth about Bob's comments and if true, get him to stop it.'

3. Write down a Plan or List of Points You Need to Make to Support Your Goal: Facts, Reasons and explanations you may need the other person to understand. List the points in order of priority or importance.

For example, to get Joe to understand why he must pay you, you might make these points:

A. Joe requested the service.
B. Joe signed an agreement to pay for the service.
C. We provided the service as promised.
D. Joe was happy with the service.
4. Write down objections, reactions

4. Write down objections, reactions or disagreements the other person may have. Include everything you are afraid might happen during the meeting. Putting specific concerns and fears in writing reduces their impact on you.

For each objection, reaction or disagreement you expect will happen, write a solution of how you will deal with each.

5. Organise your notes and gather supportive documents.

6. Arrange the meeting where you will not be disturbed, preferably in a space you control.

7. Start the meeting.

A. Look the person directly in the eye.
B. Explain the specific problem you want to resolve as you noted in Step 2.
C. Go over your first point on the list from Step 3.
D. Listen carefully to the other person and make certain they feel understood.
E. Hold a position on your points.
F. Use your solutions to their reactions as you worked out in Step 4.
G. Continue describing your points and listening to the person's side.
H. Do not give up. Communicate and persist for as long as it takes to reach your goal.

The more frequently you confront and handle difficult people, the easier it becomes. The amount of time it takes to prepare for a confrontation decreases. You become more assertive and confident.

When you confront and handle everyone around you, people respect you for your courage, your honesty and your control. Your associates, employees or coworkers follow your example and become more productive.
Taking positive organised action, despite fear, is the kind of courage all successful people must have to succeed.