Oct 4, 2021
No matter who you are, you’re inevitably going to come across
difficult personalities. (And it can be very frustrating.) To learn
how to deal with difficult personalities in the
workplace, Linda is joined by Debra Roberts, creator of
The Relationship Protocol, to address these relationships and learn
how to overcome them.
What qualifies as a “difficult personality” is different
for each person.
- For example, Debra reacts negatively to passive-aggressive
- It’s any type you are triggered or challenged by, where you
have to think through the proper responses in conversation.
The Relationship Protocol is a communication model that
resulted from all her working relationships.
- It provides actionable tools to have a conversation and deal
with difficult topics.
- If you want a positive relationship with someone with a
difficult personality, ask yourself what you want to say or what
you want their takeaways to be after the conversation, and decide
your words based on that.
- Don’t target the person, but explain how the actions or choices
make you confused.
When something is bothering you, ask them to “help me
- Sometimes people don’t realize they’re difficult. Debra has
encountered many people who don’t even realize their actions are
- When you speak to someone respectfully, and you respond
negatively, they’re going to assume they’ve done something
- The takeaway? When in a conversation, never attack the other
person when addressing a personality conflict. And remember, your
tone is everything.
When talking to someone upset with you, be it a customer
or co-worker, you must acknowledge their experience. Validate
- Own up to or empathize with them to deescalate a potential
- Everybody wants to feel heard.
- It’s not about a grand gesture. But it’s about acknowledging
other people and being kind.
Debra’s famous interruption story.
- Early in her career, Debra was a department head that recently
merged with another company.
- The woman who held a similar position to Debra at the other
company was very intimidating, and she terrified Debra.
- She asked Debra a question and then walked out mid-answer. And
Debra followed her as she left and called her out on it. And their
relationship drastically improved.
To connect with Debra, visit therelationshipprotocol.com
or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Her website also contains her courses specialized for personal,
group, or professional teams to learn how to communicate
effectively and have productive relationships. You can also find
her book on
Do you have stories to tell? Connect with Linda to share them.
This podcast is produced by TSE Studios. Check out other podcasts
by TSE Studios, including this episode’s sponsor, The
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Spotify, and Stitcher. Audio created by Ryan Rasmussen