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MANAGING CONFLICT ---12 types of difficult people.

Dealing with Difficult people:

Scenario-----A parent consistently picks up her child late and then gets upset when late
charges are levied. You were taken by surprise when she became boisterous in front of
other parents, members of staff and her child.

Globalization has contributed significantly to diversity in organizations across the globe.

With this in mind, organizations are now faced with the tremendous task of managing conflicts
more frequently. In order to effectively speak on this topic, one must first clearly define the
concept of conflict.

Conflict may be defined as a struggle or contest between people with opposing needs, ideas,
beliefs, values or goals. Conflict within organizations or more so within teams is inevitable but
need not be destructive. The high energy levels associated with conflicts can be quite resourceful
if harnessed and appropriately utilized in areas such as problem-solving and conflict resolution
between employees. This would undoubtedly result in organizational improvements as well as
promote individual growth and development.

A team or an organization is comprised of individuals with varying personality traits. It is

important to note that conflicts arise not because individuals go looking for it. In most instances,
conflict results simply from miscommunication between individuals with regard to their needs,
ideals, beliefs, goals or values.

Managing conflict effectively requires that all parties understand the nature of conflict in the
work place and the cultural and social diversity that exists, with a view to the fostering of team

For the purpose of this presentation, we will be looking at the difficult person labeled the
It is imperative to understand that Control Freaks are people who are terrified of failures. They
do not trust that any one will do a better job than they can. Control freaks do not readily accept
that their behavior pattern is a personality disorder stemming from childhood, which can cause
misery in the work place as well as other aspects of their social life.

Most “control freaks” are unhappy and insecure people who don’t understand how their words
and actions can affect other people. They can be so insecure that they feel they need to be on top
of every last detail in the workplace and must be the one holding the reins of control at all times.
It can be very difficult, but not impossible, relating to such individuals. However, we should not
take the approach of trying to change them. Instead, we can communicate with them in such a
way that they see the need to change themselves.

How does one identify individuals with the “control freak” personality trait you may ask? Here
are some noticeable traits:
• They often overact to criticism
• They avoid others to hide information
• They blame others for short comings and inefficiencies
• They exhibit loss of emotional control
• They become hostile for not apparent reason
• They may or can become physically or verbally abusive
• They seem apathetic ( lack of interest or concern)
• They often appear very anxious
• They may appear manipulative
• They are often prone to mood swings
• They can be over controlling of the simplest task
• They can be prone to bouts of rebellion
• They are often argumentative and strongly opinionated ( not respective of the opinion of
Once this personality trait has been identified, the following steps become necessary tactics
in dealing with a control freak:
• Stand you ground without aggression –if you allow a fight/disagreement to escalate
you will never win and you may end up losing both the battle and the war.
• Be assertive, expressing your opinion respectfully….”in my opinion…and so I
disagree with you.
• Take deep self-calming breaths.
• Take discussions to appropriate forum ( neutral grounds)
• Free yourself mentally from being suffocated
• Accept occurrences, and develop skills to deal with them amicably
• Always provide feed back on a professional level
• Know your strengths and limitations
• Be properly and respectfully assertive in all interactions
• Be as proactive as possible ( out think them)
• Make notations for future references
• Don’t argue without supporting evidence
• Don’t be ensnared in constant badgering that can automatically lead to unprofessional
• Avoid the temptation to micro-manage them when you get the chance. Such passive
aggressive retaliation serves no healthy purpose.

Control freaks do get angry, if it seems that their level of control is slipping. Here are some
simple tips on how you can mitigate the situation.
1. Relax, count to 10 think about what you really want to say, remove all communication
barriers as much as possible.
2. React to the issue, not the person
3. Talk in calm professional tones, no shouting; use privacy when necessary; not in the hall
way or in front of peers or subordinate
4. Listen attentively, think situation thru thoroughly, and offer amicable solutions.
5. Be aware of body language, non-verbal communications often say more than the actual
6. Don’t personalize the situation, when the resolution has been reached, let it go; move on.
Difficult people are everywhere, and you do not have to rationalize their behavior or consider
their motives to deal with them. While it is true that quite often difficult people themselves do
not know why they act the way they do, what is much more important is that you take charge of
the way that you react to them. The biggest problem with difficult people, whether they snap at
you, are demeaning, or just plain rude, is to never engage yourself in any feelings, of
responsibility for their behavior. It is commendable to do ones own self evaluation and not cover
short comings. We must accept that we are not perfect and endeavour to pay attention to details
as we may be the one being difficult.

Individuals experiencing constant exposure to controlling behaviour often feel trapped.

Frequently, this leads to relationship failures and companies will lose potentially valuable
employees, as they see no other option to amicably resolve the situations and deal with the
diversity of personality.

One should seek to know the traits of a control freak in order to relate appropriately. A common
trait is they rarely explain themselves and as a matter of fact could be said to think so highly of
themselves that they see no reason for explanations. Their controlling behaviour is usually
inspired by fear, behaviour learned through experience and or socialization not to trust anyone.

Individuals who are considered control freaks are often admired as a result of the type of
behaviour they exhibit. Some of these are control over self discipline, being focused and action
oriented as well as having the drive to succeed.
On the other hand, however, a control freak can also be overbearing, arrogant, and a
condescending individual, who needs to over control and over manage due to issues of
insecurity. Such individuals are not appreciated within the work environment.

Maxim: “A great pleasure in life is doing what people say you cannot do”. ( Walter
Bagehot) “Those who demand the most often give the least, but to whom much is given
much is expected”.