Dealing with Difficult People

By Byron Sabol

If you're a manager dealing with a difficult employee, you have three choices:

  1. You can do nothing and hope things will get better (not a sign of great leadership).
  2. You can hope the difficult person will see the light and vow to change his attitude and behavior (my advice: don't count on it!).
  3. You can take the lead and take action to improve the situation (good move: astute managers know that creating a more harmonious, and so more productive, work environment is part of their job description).

The Four Communication Styles and How to Approach Each Researchers have found that each of us falls into one of four major behavioral functions: Controller, Analyzer, Supporter, or Promoter.

Once you've identified a person's style you can adopt a communication strategy that will reach him or her most effectively. Not surprisingly, individuals tend to get along better with those whose communication style is similar to their own and have a harder time communicating with and relating to someone whose style is in direct contrast to their own. If executives learn how to identify their own and others' communication styles, they become better equipped to gain people's trust and forge a good working relationship with them.

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