Monday, September 15, 2014

Are You Skilled at Dealing With Difficult People?

It’s 10:00 am.  You’re at your desk feeling quite wonderful thinking to yourself, “It’s going to be a great day!”  Your workflow has settled into a nice hum when suddenly, out of the corner of your eye, you spot Jack Jerk approaching your cubical. “Oh crap!” you exclaim in your head.  You feel a slight pinch in your stomach thinking, “this is the one person I do not want to deal with today.”

Without another conscious thought your body shifts into preparation mode. You tense up physically and emotionally — the invisible shield is moving into position. You eye Jack as he walks swiftly past your cube. You exhale a huge sigh of relief. “Phew,” you say.

I’m going to guess that thousands of workers a day have that exact experience. In fact I don’t need to guess, I know. 

When I was on the public seminar circuit, How to Deal With Difficult People was the most attended seminar and requested onsite. I discovered as I conducted seminars throughout North America, many companies have their own version of Jack Jerk or Molly Moody.  I also discovered that many employees don’t feel effectively equipped to deal with them. 

For some the difficulty is so bad, fellow employees feel stuck, unsupported and demoralized. And for others they just leave. Yep, I've known very talented people to walk out the door. Who would of thought, dealing with difficult people is a talent management and retention issue.

The ability to deal with “difficult’ employees or colleagues, I believe, is an essential professional skill both employee to employee and especially manager to employee. And I’m not going to suggest it’s easy or insult you by saying that there is an effortless formula to quickly ready you for the challenge.

What I will say is you can develop certain skills to deal with a variety of “difficult people” situations, and additionally for managers have certain processes and tools to successfully assist in the effort.  But you have to be ready and willing to do the work.  

Why do I say this? My honest, grounded approach is not a 1,2,3,4 all will be peace and happiness remedy, but addresses dealing with difficult people from both sides. Side one -  what’s difficult about the other person? Side two - why is this person difficult to you?

You see sometimes, difficult is really just different, that we then make difficult.  And sometimes difficult really is difficult, unhealthy or dysfunctional. There really is a difference, for example, between someone who has a confident, strong opinion and someone who is a bully.

There’s also a difference between someone having a personal/professional rough patch and someone who has systemic, habitual patterns of bad behavior.


These two examples lay the foundation for developing the skill and knowledge surrounding this workplace dilemma and that is determining what’s truly difficult and what is not. Beyond discussing obviously bad or unhealthy behavior, the reality is what could be seen as difficult behavior for one person, may not be seen as such for another.  Are you able to discern the difference?  And then what?

I’m hinting at what I suggested earlier. To develop a sense of competency in this arena — to minimize that pit in your stomach, it will take time, focus and commitment. Are you ready?  If so, stay tuned. I’m developing an virtual-coaching course to address this need from an employee to employee perspective.

In the meantime, if you’re a manager (and hey even if you’re not) join me for a free 3 part webcast entitled How To Deal With Difficult Employees.  It begins this Wednesday. Here’s a link to learn more: https://plus.google.com/+JoAnnCorley/posts/eL1PucKPrx4

To close, I suggest no matter your role, you can start by considering how the dictionary defines difficult. Frankly, it’s eye opening and insightful.  How do any of these definitions apply to you?  Let me know.

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

Friday, September 12, 2014

Free Webinar - How To Deal With Difficult Employees


FREE - 3 Part Webcast Series - How To Deal With Difficult Employees

Register here: 
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/393074016  | Coming This Wed  - Sept. 17th

Nothing matters more than having a productive, talented workforce. It’s the source from which the vision of every leader is realized.  As a leader, it’s so satisfying! Yet there are times, when a small number of employees can sour that satisfaction, fellow team members and ultimately profits!

Difficult employees are an ongoing challenge in our companies today. There is sea change of social and economic influencers that are adversely impacting the 21st century worker. (For example, a study recently released indicated that emotional intelligence is on the decline).  As a manager and leader, you experience daily the results of these influencers. You also witness the negative ripple effect to every aspect of a business and it’s stakeholders.

If this resonates with you, then you must also feel an imperative to equip yourself and your organization with the appropriate strategies and tools to successfully address these challenges. If so, join us for a 3 part webcast series on How To Handle Difficult Employees. 

The knowledge and how to this series offers can substantially affect the capability and competency of your leaders and managers. Don't miss this extraordinary opportunity to gain valuable knowledge for the best price ever - free!

What you will gain: 
-increased confidence and competence
-reduced stress
-increased protection from potential liability
-increased retention
-additional building blocks to strengthen your talent management infrastructure
-practical strategies that your human resource department will love
heightened respect from those you lead
-tools to assess the behavior dynamic
-knowledge and know-how to protect your bottom line

You will learn:
Part 1 - 
-What is difficult
-The difference between difficult and different
-Why “difficult” employees exist
Part 2 - 
-Key principles of human behavior that every manager needs to know
why emotional intelligence is a key factor
-A 5 step process to assess any challenging situation
-Simple ways to minimize difficult behavior
Part 3  -
-The role of coaching in impacting behavior
-Leadership insights that can make or break the ability to influence
-The role team culture plays in allowing or minimizing difficult behavior
-How to measure and calculate the financial impact
Register here: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/393074016

This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Invest Your Time or Spend Your Time - You Decide

An Important Time Management Strategy - Invest Your Time vs. Spend It

We are constantly in our culture hearing about investing money with the hopes of getting a return on investment. And certainly many who have taken that road have been rewarded handsomely experiencing some remarkable returns.

Well the same can be true about time.  Time, like money is a commodity and can be spent or invested - you decide.



I love this time management tip and perspective because since time is your life, what we're really talking about is investing in yourself - investing in your life! You see, your attitude about time makes all the difference in how you use it. Your attitude about your life makes all the difference in how you see and use your time.

Here are 4 areas that most consider meaningful and important....and in which you'll want to consider investing in.  These are areas that most want to increase the quality and longevity of and one of the fundamental ways of doing that is "taking the time" to do so.  It's like paying if forward for yourself with a ripple affect to others.


  1. Skills – Investing in you is always a good use of your time. What new skills do you need to learn? Being a life-long learner is key to future success. Always be investing time in new skills and capabilities.
  2. Health – Too often, exercise and healthy habits get put on the back burner when you are busy. Make sure that you are maintaining your body and health. After all, your health impacts your abilities in all areas of life.
  3. Relationships – Despite the old cliché about “quality time,” relationships are all about “quantity time.” (Hat tip to Brian Tracy.) It’s the amount of time that you invest that determines the relationship.
  4. Career – Too many people wait for their job to hand them a promotion or next opportunity. Instead, go out and make it happen. No one is going to simply give you that new job, you have to go out and get it.
Coaching Tip: Look at how your time is used and see what of these 4 are being given attention and how. I recommend using the practice of time mapping - taking a week at a glance and chart how your time is really being spent!  This exercise will give you a realistic view of how your time is or is not being invested!

These and other suggestions you'll find in this recommendation below: Organizational Strategies for the Overwhelmed: how to manage your time, space, & priorities, to work smart, get results & be happy - available in these formats: Kindle - The Book - Nook Audio Book -  The Seminar    |      Here's an independent review of the book



This blog is based on this book. In it are actionable ideas on being a better manager: The 1% Edge - The Workbook - Power Strategies to Increase Your Management Effectiveness