You need a lot of plans when it comes to starting a business. Thereís the business plan, the financial plan, the marketing plan, the expansion plan, even the exit plan. Thereís one more plan that everyone needs but few have: the How to Deal with Difficult People Plan.
Whether you want to admit it or not, difficult people are around us all of the time. They are the ones who seem to make it their personal mission to harass, bully, connive and even scam those around them. When this happens in a business setting how do you deal with it while still keeping your professional edge?
First, know your facts. When youíre dealing with someone whoís not above board, they will usually try to challenge the facts and push the limits. If you have clearly defined boundaries, you will not be easy to push around. For example if a part of your companyís philosophy is to never give more than a 10% discount on already reasonable products or services, you have to be willing to stand your ground when an aggressive customer or vendor pushes for more. You may explain that you have made a point to make your services reasonable and affordable. Giving deeper discounts forces you to raise prices in other areas and you are not willing push that charge on to your other customers.
Second, know your rights. Know where you stand as far as the law. Many difficult people will try to blow by your boundaries, but they cannot blow by the law. Get agreements in writing, have a relationship with a good lawyer who can send off a letter if you need it. Itís a good idea to build this relationship before you have a problem.
Third, train your team. Difficult people will try to not only bully you, but they will go after your staff. Be sure to train your team and let them know where the company stands on important issues. Let them know when and how far they can negotiate and when they are NEVER allowed to bend. Your team will feel supported if they have to make a difficult call and you can relax in knowing that you are all on one accord.
Last, donít be afraid to stand up for yourself. Itís your business and you have a right to run it as you see fit. If you resist the difficult person they will go away. It may take some time, but they will get frustrated if they continue to encounter your resistance.
Difficult people, those who donít value personal or professional integrity are unavoidable. Having a plan to deal with them will help you keep your sanity and remain productive during the process.