How to deal with a difficult person on your project team

How to Prepare for the PMP Exam Day

Every project manager must work with different types of people – and that often involves difficult personalities. As human beings, we all have good and bad behaviours. When we feel appreciated by others, good behaviour tends to dominate. However, in times of stress and conflict, bad behaviour can dominate.
Studies by Zachary Wong (PhD and author) found that people working on projects tend to behave at either the “upper” or “lower” level.

Upper level players promote cooperation and move the project team forward, while lower level players are defensive, self centred, fearful and negative. People who spend their time in these lower levels can be difficult to work with. Negaitve behaviour in a project team reduces productivity, teamwork and communication.

Difficult people consume a lot of a team’s time, resources, attention and energy making everything a greater effort.

What can you when dealing with a difficult person on your Project Team?

• Do not join people on the lower level; it will only add to a negative environment
• Elevate your thinking and behaviours, and practice maintaining a positive attitude.
• Understand that the common underlying element of difficult people is fear. By addressing their fear, you move closer towards a solution.
• Do not get upset; it is not your problem.
• Do not hate them; be empathetic.
• Offer your help

If you would like further tips about how to deal with difficult people on your team – drop us an email:

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