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Dealing with difficult people was the focus of the MMA Human Services Council’s final meeting of the year, held virtually on Oct. 20.
Daphney Valcinor, an organizational development training specialist with AllOne Health, led an interactive training to help members enhance their interpersonal skills to more effectively manage difficult situations at work.
Valcinor began with an acknowledgement of the challenging and unique time we are living and working in, and the impact that it has had on the mental and emotional well-being of many people. While it is important to recognize and understand the context of the times in difficult interactions, she emphasized that the pandemic should not be used as an excuse for bad behavior.
Valcinor asked attendees to share examples of difficult interactions that they have encountered at work. She then provided practical strategies that can be employed when dealing with difficult people, including taking time to physically calm your own emotions, closely examining the facts of the situation and the roles played by each party, using high-road communication without judgement or anger, and relying on objective measures to track performance when dealing with a difficult employee.
When dealing with difficult people, she said, it’s important to remember that we can only control ourselves. We never really know what is going on with someone else, and it’s important to remain professional and avoid behaving in a defensive manner.
The training concluded with an examination of different types of difficult people that might be encountered at work, and specific strategies for communicating with each type. Valcinor encouraged attendees to make use of their employee assistance program when additional support is needed for handling difficult situations.