I received notice from Maddie’s shop steward (when did we unionize?!?) last night who told me that Maddie was upset that Cali got named Employee of the Month.

If you’ve been following the new Employee of the Month program at Mathis Nonprofit Services Facebook page, you know that, as a tongue and cheek salute to working from home, I have furry co-workers that in reality are my cats. Maddie and Cali are two of them and my husband is the self-appointed shop steward.

All this got me thinking. How do you deal with difficult people and in my case difficult cats? Well, I found a can of cat food solves a lot in the cat world. Here are some ideas for the human world.

When you are running a nonprofit, you’re going to often come across difficult people. These are people who won’t yield for any reason. They are unreasonable and will likely complain about everything. How can you deal with these people?

Some people become apathetic in their situations. They used to care but felt something or someone along the way just didn’t care. Their reasoning is why should they? When this is the case, you can usually break down the barriers by getting to the root of the problem. Ask questions of this person. Find out what it is that is causing them not to care anymore.

For others who simply have a bad attitude, you have to handle this situation more delicately. The one thing you don’t want to do is give in to them so readily. Sometimes, people will do this because they bark the loudest. But, you should only let them have their way if the solution is the correct one, not just because they are barking.

One of the main solutions in dealing with difficult people is to have alternative solutions. For instance, if someone complains that a particular solution won’t work, first ask why. If they come up with a valid reason, then offer alternatives. If they continue to shoot down every suggestion you produce, ask them to come up with a solution.

When dealing with difficult people, you must try to get to the cause. It’s only then that you will be able to effectively determine whether you can help the person overcome some obstacle that is making him or her be difficult. It will also let you determine if you need to move on from that person or not.


For more tips on dealing with difficult people, download the free tip report.

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