- Joe Wise
Dealing with Difficult People
Updated: Mar 29
3 Steps to Dealing with Difficult People
Interacting with difficult people is an inevitability we all face. When confronted with a chronically upset person we’re given the choice to either reciprocate their anger or calmly address the situation. As a board member, you’re in a position of responsibility where escalating a situation is both inappropriate and unproductive. In the heat of the moment, take time to breathe and refer to the following steps to listen, think, and respond.
Step One: Listen
Frustration often results from a feeling of not being heard. As a listener, you can alleviate much of your neighbor’s anger just by paying attention. Productive listening doesn’t allow for assumptions—confirm that you understand their complaint before responding to avoid a miscommunication.
Step Two: Think
Pinpoint your own feelings about the scenario. Does this person’s reaction upset you? Are you feeling personally attacked or underappreciated? According to these Tucson property managers it’s important to acknowledge your emotional reaction before it becomes a verbal reaction you may regret. Recognize that difficult people often act dramatically to illicit a dramatic response—don’t take the bait. Maintain your composure rather than being manipulated into giving a certain response.
Step Three: Respond
Communicate calmly about the root of the question instead of about their reaction to the issue. Assure the neighbor that association decisions are made for the benefit of the community so they don’t feel singled out or attacked. Treat the interaction more like a conversation than a lecture by asking a follow up question to ensure you’re understanding each other.
Remember—you can’t control another person’s actions but you can control your reactions, and you can’t regret the angry words you didn’t say. Because you represent the community association as a board member, taking the high road in a heated situation benefits everyone.
Hiring an accredited community association management firm like Wise Property Solutions can alleviate the strain placed on the board by a difficult homeowner. With years of experience managing associations, Wise Property Solutions successfully navigates tense situations with the community’s benefit in mind.