Domestic Diversions

How to handle difficult people? Simple strategies starting with listening and understanding

The ABA’s Law Practice Today offers advice on dealing with difficult people.

Matt Potempa explains his top six tips (excerpt):
1. Listen. . . . Try to understand the source of their frustration while avoiding the temptation to interrupt and correct. . . .
2. Educate without being condescending. Explain your world. . . .
3. Know when to confront and how to deal with difficult realities. Evaluate and choose the appropriate medium of communication for the situation. . . .
4. . . . [B]e tactical yet constructive in your approach. . . . Treat every communication as if it will one day be read aloud in open court or in a conference room. . . .
5. Did you make a mistake? If so, own it, control damage and put measures in place to minimize the same error from happening again. . . .
6. Avoid this happening again. . . . [A]sk yourself whether dealing with a perpetually difficult person is worth it. . . .


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