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Managing Conflict and Handling Difficult People & Situations (2 Days)

Difficult people and situations are inevitable parts of our personal and professional lives.  More often than not, it is not the subject matter that makes these situations difficult but the personalities, motives, and underlying feelings of the people involved.  It is critical to the success of you and your organization to learn how to deal with these difficult people and situations.

Most people get emotional when they encounter difficult people, difficult situations, and conflict, or try to avoid them in the first place.  These natural responses do not serve us well.  Avoiding or appeasing only prolongs the problem, and responding emotionally only adds fuel to the fire.  By understanding the nature of conflict, the dynamics of personality, and some simple yet specific strategies for handling difficult people and situations, you can turn these challenges to your advantage.

In this intensive, two-day workshop participants will learn how to manage conflict in the workplace and in their personal lives.  They will learn to recognize different types of difficult people and situations, and different approaches to conflict.  Most importantly, participants will learn skills for handling difficult people and situations while maintaining and improving relationships.

Who Should Attend
This workshop is suitable for anyone, but is especially useful for managers, supervisors, sales professionals, business development executives, entrepreneurs, customer service staff, and administrative staff.


  • Identify the nature of conflict
  • Recognize five approaches to conflict and identify your approach
  • Understand three basic models of conflict
  • Learn to use some basic mediation techniques in the workplace
  • Understand the critical role of emotion when dealing with difficult people and situations, and how to defuse it
  • Learn how to talk to subordinates, peers, superiors and clients
  • Learn ten ways to say “No” without causing offense
  • Identify the four social styles and how to communicate with each
  • Learn how to minimize differences through building rapport and blending
  • Recognize three types of difficult people and how to deal with each type
  • Learn strategies for dealing with other types of difficult and annoying people


  • Presentation and discussion
  • Interactive sessions
  • Case studies
  • Role plays
  • Individual exercises
  • Group activities
  • Video

Workshop Outline
The workshop content is as follows:

  • Introduction
    • What is conflict?
    • Principles of conflict resolution
    • The five approaches to conflict, and when to use them  
    • Your approach to conflict
  • Ways of Understanding Conflict
    • The Conflict Triangle: Victims, persecutors, and rescuers
    • Interests, rights, and power
    • Creating win-win outcomes: Positions and interests
    • Mediating conflict
    • The role of the mediator
    • Mediation techniques for the workplace
    • A seven step template for managing conflict
  • Handling Difficult Situations: Separating People from the Problem
    • Emotions in the workplace
    • The language of emotion
    • How to talk to subordinates, peers, superiors and clients
    • Conducting difficult conversations
    • Effective listening techniques
    • The power of nonverbal communication
    • Ten ways to say “No”   
  • Dealing with Difficult Personalities and Styles
    • The Four Social Styles
    • Recognizing the four styles
    • Working with the four styles
    • Dealing with differences
    • Rapport
    • Blending
  • Dealing with Difficult People
    • The three main types of difficult people and how to handle them
    • Situationally difficult
    • Strategically difficult
    • Intrinsically difficult
    • Some other types of difficult people – and the merely annoying
  • Summary and Closing 


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