Managing Difficult People

The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that is has taken place.

George Bernard Shaw

We are all the same. We are all trying to cope and to get our needs met. Nonetheless, there is huge variation in what we may see as our needs and how we go about meeting them.  Wisdom dictates that we meet our needs without compromising the needs of others. Difficult people, however, tend to pursue their needs without sufficient regard to the impact on others.

This workshop is about these ‘difficult’ types of people.  Of course, we can all be ‘difficult’ at times, but here we are discussing consistently dysfunctional patterns of behaviour.  Sometimes such ‘difficult’ people will be quite extreme (for example, clinically diagnosable with a personality disorder).  Much more commonly, however, difficult people may have maladjusted personality traits, which makes them a real challenge to get along with when their needs clash with ours.

Another way of understanding this is in terms of two broad motives for much of human behaviour: the desire to dominate or to avoid domination.  Some people get their needs met by using direct and overt aggression, while others will use clever manipulation. Still others will use covert or hidden aggression, while some will disengage and try to cut themselves off and avoid difficulties.

These are not the only human motives, of course, and there are wiser, ‘win-win’ ways to get needs met.  This workshop explores various approaches and techniques to arrive at wiser win-win outcomes more often.