Difficult people do exist and no organization is without them. They come  in various types. I’m sure that you have already meet some of them like those that are “Pushy and Verbally Aggressive ”; the “Rude and Sarcastic” or the “Know-It-All” person who has a low tolerance for correction and contradiction. There are those that explodes into unfocused ranting and raving about things that have nothing to do with the present circumstances. There are more types of difficult people we meet every day and chances are, you might have worked with at least one difficult person in your workplace.

How difficult a person is for you to deal  depends on your self-esteem, your self-confidence, and your professional courage. Unfortunately, if this behavior are not addressed effectively this can cause a boomerang especially if you are handling a leadership position. Some employees will become resentful and think less of you as a leader if this kind of behavior is unaddressed or, some employees will start emulate the behavior of the person who is not being corrected.

Of course, it will never be easy to address difficult behaviors. At times, people go into shock when they are treated unprofessionally. Because of fear for adverse reaction some leaders opt to just ignore this behavior. But I tell you, deciding to live with the situation long term is not an option. In fact, If I will be asked, the manager’s tolerance or encouragement of this difficult behavior is part of the problem.


So how do we deal with difficult behaviors in the workplace?

There is no simple answer to this question. As behaviors are influenced by many factors one person has acquired through the years, unlearning this attitudes may take some time as well. Some organizations may resort to Values Formation, Retreats or Teambuilding Workshops when experiencing problems like these. While it is true that these workshops can really help ( and training programs are a must for all organizations), but let me remind you that training is not a cure-all solution. Understanding the root cause of every problem is always important. At times problems are brought about by the leadership styles and behaviors of the leaders; poor or no system at all; unresponsive organizational dynamics; sometimes it happened because the organizations have no sound reward system in place and many more.

Engaging some third party or consultants may help the organization in analyzing the situation and developing programs and fixed or install some systems to help the organization.

On the part of Human Resource Department, the problem may have started from the recruitment process. This is where some Psychological testing comes very useful to somehow spot signs of personality issues. The sound performance management system has to be in place along with a very good compensation and reward system.

Bookmark this page for the Series on Handling Difficult People in the Workplace articles we will be posting soon.


Sixty-five (65) participants coming from various companies in Negros Occidental  on Handling Difficult People conducted by the People Management Association of the Philippines with yours truly as the resource person. Being the resource person, I based my talk on my experiences having worked with various organization as a full-time employee and as a training consultant.

Here’s my presentation for the said talk. Please feel free to leave your comments below and hope that this can give you some help.

For your training needs email,INTRASPEC Management Consultancy : jovito_intraspec@yahoo.com



  1. Back then I was tending my parents business. One I met ‘makulit’ people sa work. First Kinakausap ko, then if no change pa rin sa relationship then Fire ko na.

  2. I used to be very stressed out when I was still working at a college back when I was still there in Pinas, glad I am not a work at home Mom!

  3. Elizabeth O.

    I think it’s good that there are people who hold talks/seminars about this. There are a lot of people who are hard to handle in the office.

  4. Good to know there are seminars or workshops that will teach how to handle difficult people in the workplace.

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