Who needs a course? Just get rid of them!

I posted a miserable 5 times in August. And a couple of them don’t really count because I was just whining. I’ve been in the midst of finding my way on a new job, but that excuse is running thin. So I profess to be back. It’s great to reconnect and it didn’t take long to realize how much I’ve missed it. Ben Eubanks, a dear #TrenchHR colleague who I have Twitter to thank for acquainting us, really drove home the importance of staying connected with the social media community. It doesn’t really surprise me that it was he who came forth with this offer, because he just rolls like that…and everyone knows it, but it’s a timeless validation of why this community matters…like really matters! After reading my recent pitiful sob story about why it’s so hard to write while on a full-time job – particularly a new one – he selflessly not only offered to provide a guest-post, but he actually sent me one already drafted. This is a guy who also has a full-time job, blogs prolifically, and is a new father. It was the slap of reality I needed…thanks Ben. Any way, here’s his quest post…as always, worth a read!


So, I was digging through some old training records the other day in search of a specific document, and I ran across this training certificate:

Working with difficult people-is this an award or a training certificate?

Once I stopped laughing at the concept of the class, I had a few thoughts…

  • Is a 3 hour class really sufficient to train someone to work with difficult people?
  • What kind of stuff is covered in a class like that?
  • Why do companies continue holding onto those “difficult” people that are a drag on the workplace?
  • Maybe handling difficult people is just one more thing that we ignore, even though we already know how important it is to keep them out of our organizations.
  • I bet everyone can (like I did) think of a few people this specifically applies to in your organization. Bonus points if you leave a comment telling us about them (without mentioning any names).

This guest post is by Ben Eubanks. Ben has a lot of experience working with difficult people (heck, with his new-parent-induced sleep deprivation, he might even be one a few times a week). He lives and works in Huntsville, AL as an HR pro by day and an HR blogger by night. Want to connect? He’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, and uses , too.

Photo Credit: UpstartHR

4 Responses to Who needs a course? Just get rid of them!
  1. Susan
    September 3, 2010 | 9:48 pm

    You can’t avoid hiring “difficult” people because it is really the situations that create the difficulties. When workers feel their voices are not heard or are not important or when there is no formal way built into the company for workers to “complain” or question then a worker has no outlet for the frustration that can build up over time. That’s when people become “difficult” focusing on reacting to a situation instead of problem solving workplace issues. Working with people becomes a matter of being civil and creating a way for workers to constructively vent. A good code of conduct for all employees can really help here as it always does in any life situation.

  2. Charlie
    September 4, 2010 | 12:01 pm

    @susan – insightful comment…and you’re absolutely on point around the situation driving the behavior. I think, though, there are in fact “difficult people” who are just programmed that way – irrespective of the situation. They’re the ones who damage the integrity of any workplace and they’re the ones I’d love to just kick to the curb. Thanks for participating in the dialog.

  3. Difficult People, SHRM, and Enthusiasm-Guest Post Blitz #8 | upstartHR
    November 12, 2010 | 5:01 am

    [...] My friend Charlie Judy at HR Fishbowl let me share my thoughts on working with difficult people in this short post: Who needs a class? Get rid of them! [...]

  4. Patrick Reilly
    November 12, 2010 | 8:45 am

    Most difficult people based on our research don’t know they are difficult and the impact they have on others.

    Line managers usually put with them because they are competent and productive. HR usually only tells people to wait or eventually help fire them.

    And, no, 3 hours is not enough to help them but we do have a way to help. Go take a look at our site and be n touch if you want to know more.

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