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Dealing with Difficult People

2 Days Classroom Session   |  
3 Days Live Online
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Professional Credits


ASPE is an IIBA Endorsed Education Provider of business analysis training. Select Project Delivery courses offer IIBA continuing development units (CDU) in accordance with IIBA standards.


Select courses offer Leadership (PDU-L), Strategic (PDU-S) and Technical PMI professional development units that vary according to certification. Technical PDUs are available in the following types: ACP, PBA, PfMP, PMP/PgMP, RMP, and SP.


Have you ever encountered these types of people?

  • A co-worker who takes credit for your ideas/work
  • A stakeholder with hidden agendas
  • A peer who attempts to taint your reputation
  • A mixture of stakeholders disagreeing about requirements with you caught in the middle
  • A gossiper
  • A bully
  • A person who can never say no
  • A chronic complainer, etc.

Odds are you have encountered at least one of these behaviors and many others when you have interacted with people. How would you rate your performance in dealing with that difficult person? If you gave yourself anything less than an "A," than this is the workshop to boost you into the "A" category!

The Carnegie Institute of Technology analyzed the records of 10,000 people, and arrived at the conclusion that "15 percent of success is due to technical training – to brains and skill on the job, and 85 percent of success is due to personality factors – the ability to deal with other people successfully!" Unfortunately the effect of the stress when dealing with difficult people can result in reduced workplace productivity, bad attitudes, and in some cases cause people to be reluctant to even go to work.

The Result?

You do not have to tolerate difficult behaviors at work, nor do you have to be a victim. People behave poorly due to various reasons, including bad habits, unawareness, and intentionally.

There are numerous workshops and books on dealing with difficult people, so what makes this approach different? The fact that you will examine how you react and respond to difficult people, and how you can become part of the solution. As an added benefit you will also discover the tactics you learn in this workshop will help you both personally and professionally.

Four out of five people will tell you it's important for people to collaborate at work. When people work together, they don't always agree. When they don't agree some people portray difficult behaviors to get their way. The more savvy you are about dealing with these difficult behaviors, the more likely you will succeed in your life and in your career. Dealing with Difficult People: The Art of Handling Any Employee is your ticket to get you there.

Learn how to build effective business relationships
Plan for how you will deal with workplace politicians
Create win-win outcomes in difficult situations
Deal effectively with political problems in your workplace
Master the art of influencing others in difficult situations
Appreciate the value of conflict when handled properly
Employ the conflict resolution process to help deal with difficult people in challenging situations
Practice conducting discussions with problematic people and/or situations
Understand how you currently deal with difficult people
Determine what to change in your current approach for dealing with difficult people
Upcoming Dates and Locations
All Live Online times are listed in Eastern Time Guaranteed To Run

There aren’t any public sessions currently scheduled for this course, but if you fill out the form below, we can tell you about how we can bring this course to you!

Course Outline

1. Building Effective Business Relationships 
Building effective work relationships is quite a subjective process; however there are ways to tell if professionals are treating each other well in the workplace. When dealing with difficult or hostile situations, there is the potential that the problem could be due to a relationship issue. Effective relationships are the foundation we will build upon during this workshop. This section focuses on the key elements that identify signs of good relationships.

  • Developing good working relationships and networking
  • Building trust and respect
  • Accepting differences
  • Preparing for opportunities and challenges with business relationships

Practice Sessions - We will begin with an activity that will have you perform an assessment of your working relationships with others. Understanding your preferences will help you with strategies for the succeeding content and practice sessions. Next, you will analyze your level of respect when working with others which is a key component of building trust. With the help of your team, you will understand your relationship style as you prepare for any type of people interaction. Then, as a small team you will discuss the opportunities and challenges of building effective business relationships.

2. Dealing with Workplace Politicians
People who are successful in dealing with others have a tendency to be politically adept and they know how to work the political systems within their workplace. Politics are everywhere; so in order to acquire a larger budget for your project, create win-win outcomes for a project team, influence and negotiate with others, or be recognized for your accomplishments, it is necessary for you to become politically savvy. This section focuses on both destructive and positive politics people use in the workplace and the different politician styles.

  • Discovering your methods
  • vIdentifying political behaviors
  • Practicing general political principles with different politician styles

Practice Sessions - You will begin this section by analyzing your methods and motives for dealing with workplace politics. Working with your team, you will identify appropriate and inappropriate political behaviors. Your team will work on multiple case studies to determine effective tactics and strategies for handling the different political styles.

3. Dealing with Workplace Politics
Now that you understand the different political styles and strategies for handling the diverse types, it is time to focus on how to deal with the specifics of individual, difficult political situations. These situations could include a practitioner taking credit for your ideas/work, hidden agendas from stakeholders, professionals attempting to taint your reputation, being caught in the middle of multiple stakeholders disagreeing about requirements, etc. This section focuses on how to deal with these specific types of workplace politics.

  • Recognizing workplace political problems
  • vPreparing for political problems
  • Dealing with political problems

Practice Sessions - You will start by learning how to recognize the different political problems that occur in workplaces today. Next, you will prepare for how to handle these common situations. Working with your team, you will practice how to deal with the differing political problems by participating in case study exercises. You will complete this section by discussing with other teams how they handled challenging political situations.

4. Influencing Others
As a professional, you may not realize that you are influencing people just about all of the time. Dealing with difficult people involves using the art of influence. The problem is there is more than one way to influence others. You will be involved in situations where support is needed from others to complete a project, persuasion needs to be used to inspire others to work on activities, relationships need to be established and maintained with stakeholders, or team members need to become engaged in creative problem solving. This section focuses on helping you learn how to master the art of influencing, especially in difficult situations.

  • Reviewing the influence model process
  • vExamining what practitioners find valuable
  • Applying influencing skills

Practice Sessions - You will begin by assessing your current approach to influencing others and the tactics you use to influence others. Next, you will identify an action plan of how to use the influence model process in your workplace. Working with your team you will identify what practitioners find valuable in the workplace in order to be influenced. Working with other teams you will identify barriers to the influencing process. You will complete this section by practicing the influencing model on a situation where practitioners are emotionally charged-up about an issue happening in their workplace.

5. Handling Conflict
Every day in your workplace you encounter conflict. Conflict can be good, bad, or ugly. It's how you deal with conflict that makes a difference. Many people deny that conflict exists or try to avoid it altogether. This is not a healthy approach to handling conflict. This section focuses on how to handle conflict constructively in your workplace when dealing with difficult situations.

  • Approaching conflicting situations
  • vDetermining the source(s) of conflict
  • Learning the conflict resolution process

Practice Sessions - You will begin by assessing your current approach to handling conflicting situations in working with others. Working with your team, you will determine the sources of conflicting situations. You and your team will identify conflict resolution styles used in the workplace. Working with your team you will practice the conflict resolution process to resolve a conflicting situation.

6. Dealing with Specific Types of Difficult People
There are many different types of difficult behaviors people will display in the workplace. Problems can come from peers, your boss, stakeholders, other departments, direct reports, etc. This section focuses on the specific types of difficult behaviors, including the bully, the person who can never say no, the chronic complainer, the gossiper, and everything in between. In this longest section, you will learn which types of people utilize these difficult behaviors.

  • Defining the types of difficult behaviors
  • vIdentifying strategies for dealing with difficult behaviors of people
  • Conducting difficult discussions
  • Reaching agreed upon solutions

Practice Sessions - You will begin by assessing the different types of difficult behaviors. Working with your team, you will identify the benefits for dealing with difficult people, as well as the barriers to these discussions. You and your team will also practice different strategies for dealing with difficult people through different case studies. You will complete this section by determining how you will use the difficult discussion tactics more effectively and which approaches you will use in your workplace.

7. Changing How You Deal with Difficult People
You already have a reputation in your workplace of how you deal with difficult people. There are key strategies you can use in order to enhance or change your approach. Change takes time and it will not happen overnight. This section will help you put together a process for how you will transfer what you have learned in this workshop.

  • Managing the transition
  • vShifting your approach
  • Obtaining feedback

Practice Sessions - You will begin by reviewing how you have assessed yourself regarding dealing with difficult people and situations. Working individually, you will identify if you are ready for change in any particular area(s). Next, you will review transition strategies to guide what you will implement. Finally you will complete this section by creating an action plan of tools, techniques, and strategies you will use in your workplace when dealing with difficult people.

Who should attend

Anyone involved in "working and collaborating with others" would benefit from this class. This course is perfect for you if you are a(n):

  • Business Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Team Lead - New and Experienced
  • Manager - New and Experienced
  • IT Professional
  • Sales Professional
  • Customer Service Manager
  • Practitioner
  • Anyone involved in teams or team development
  • Anyone wanting to accelerate their career