Dealing with Difficult People Starts in the Head

I have worked with a lot of great people over the years.

I have dealt with a lot of difficult people, too.

Expectations are not met.

Personalities clash.

Words get said, feelings hurt, wedges are driven deeper…

Dealing with difficult people drains our energy and consumes a lot of valuable time.

Conflict is not easy to deal with, so many leaders choose to ignore it (or explain it away).

The problem with that approach is that you end up with a poisoned environment and good people leave the organization.

The way I chose to think of conflict management has two levels: 1) it is my job to protect the people and organization and, 2) I want the best for people.

During my hockey coaching years, I considered it an honor and a privilege for parents to trust me with the lives of their kids, so I took the job seriously.

Now, I chose to think of leading people in an organization the same way.  I have people’s lives in my hands (to a degree) eight hours a day , so I take the job seriously.

I want the best for them, so I give them my best.

Am I perfect?  No.

But the first step in dealing with difficult people is to adopt the mindset of wanting the best for people and the organization.

Instead of assuming the worst, assume the best, and assume that people around you want the best for you and others as well.

Having the right attitude will transform how you deal with people.


I am a husband, father, grandfather, business owner, farmer, and deep thinker. I love helping people, having deep conversations, and being around great people.

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