Easy-to-follow video tutorials help you learn software, creative, and business skills.Become a member

Working with difficult people

From: Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

Video: Working with difficult people

The truth is we really have no idea why people do what they do until we ask. But what if, despite all your efforts, you keep meeting resistance? What if all the evidence shows that it really is the other person? There is a tale from India about a group of blind men who touch an elephant to learn what it's like. Each one touches a different part and they compare notes and then they learn that they're in complete disagreement about the nature of the elephant. Well, when you're not successful in solving a problem with a difficult person, you could be dealing with incomplete information.

Working with difficult people

The truth is we really have no idea why people do what they do until we ask. But what if, despite all your efforts, you keep meeting resistance? What if all the evidence shows that it really is the other person? There is a tale from India about a group of blind men who touch an elephant to learn what it's like. Each one touches a different part and they compare notes and then they learn that they're in complete disagreement about the nature of the elephant. Well, when you're not successful in solving a problem with a difficult person, you could be dealing with incomplete information.

So, let's investigate the hidden interest that might lie beneath the surface with difficult people. Let's say Jack thinks Heather is a difficult person. He believes she doesn't support his goals and aspirations, never carries forward his salary requests, and believes she micromanages his every move. What Jack doesn't know is that Heather may have hidden constraints, hidden stakeholders, or decision-makers, or hidden interests or thwarted values.

Heather may be hindered by the constraints of HR policies, or she may not have the authority to meet Jack's request because the company stakeholders, the executive team have put the clamp on spending. So here's how you get under the hood. First, clarify confusion. As soon as you notice you're losing track of the conversation, acknowledge that you may be missing something or that you're confused about the reasoning behind something. You could be talking past one another, and you need to pause and ask for clarity.

When you understand why someone is resistant or irritable, it will usually point you in the direction of a solution. If your conflict partner is angry because they're misinformed, your job will be to inform them. If they're angry because they feel disrespected, your job is to respect them. If they're frustrated because they misunderstood something you said, your job is to clarify and correct the misunderstanding. Next, summarize your conflicting stories and harmonize your differences.

When we get locked in conflict, we are usually bound tight to our story. We point to circumstances and conversations and past events and provide all kinds of evidence to support our story, and your conflict partner does the same. If you can see clearly enough, you can summarize your conflicting stories and make an effort to adopt a new story. You can parse out where you're an agreement and where you have shared values and goals. You can then use those shared values as your guiding principles in your resolution process.

Bottom line: don't let your assumptions and interpretations of people and events run away with you. Go to the source and seek clarity. Dealing with difficult people is really about understanding what else might be operating underneath. Uncovering hidden motives, summarizing conflicting stories, and harmonizing your differences has a potential silver lining. Your perception that your conflict partner is a difficult person may transform completely.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Conflict Resolution Fundamentals
Conflict Resolution Fundamentals

17 video lessons · 12391 viewers

Lisa Gates
Author

 

Start learning today

Get unlimited access to all courses for just $25/month.

Become a member
Sometimes @lynda teaches me how to use a program and sometimes Lynda.com changes my life forever. @JosefShutter
@lynda lynda.com is an absolute life saver when it comes to learning todays software. Definitely recommend it! #higherlearning @Michael_Caraway
@lynda The best thing online! Your database of courses is great! To the mark and very helpful. Thanks! @ru22more
Got to create something yesterday I never thought I could do. #thanks @lynda @Ngventurella
I really do love @lynda as a learning platform. Never stop learning and developing, it’s probably our greatest gift as a species! @soundslikedavid
@lynda just subscribed to lynda.com all I can say its brilliant join now trust me @ButchSamurai
@lynda is an awesome resource. The membership is priceless if you take advantage of it. @diabetic_techie
One of the best decision I made this year. Buy a 1yr subscription to @lynda @cybercaptive
guys lynda.com (@lynda) is the best. So far I’ve learned Java, principles of OO programming, and now learning about MS project @lucasmitchell
Signed back up to @lynda dot com. I’ve missed it!! Proper geeking out right now! #timetolearn #geek @JayGodbold
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed Conflict Resolution Fundamentals.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Your file was successfully uploaded.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.