Dealing with Difficult People and Different Personalities

About the Course

Gain the skills and confidence to deal with challenging personality types. Learn how to keep your composure and avoid escalating the problems when interacting with unreasonable people.

Through practical exercises and drawing on our facilitator’s vast experience and psychology background, you will be empowered to pick your battles, turn around negative behaviours and attitudes, communicate effectively, and set clear boundaries for what you will and will not tolerate.

Course topics include

  • How you relate to different personality types
  • How to keep emotions out of challenging situations
  • The best approach when communicating with unreasonable people
  • How to minimise misinterpretations and misunderstandings
  • Strategies to radiate assertiveness
  • How to change attitudes and behaviours

 Who should attend?

If you can think of a person you find difficult or challenging to deal with (and most people can!) then this course is for you!



We recommend the following course as the next step in your professional development

  Developing Assertiveness and Self Confidence at Work


Course outline

The psychology behind personality types

  • What defines a “Difficult Person”?
  • Examples of unreasonable behaviour
  • How the conscious and subconscious mind shape behaviour
  • Your triggers – why you will perceive some people as more difficult than others
  • How to re-programme challenging behaviours
  • Simple tools to analyse personal interactions
  • The power of “reverse psychology”


Managing the emotions

  • How we sometimes unintentionally escalate the problem
  • Don’t make it personal – separate yourself and the person from the issue
  • Understanding the world from their perspective
  • How to remain calm and stress-free in tense situations
  • Questioning skills to disarm unreasonable and difficult behaviour
  • The praise and punishment trap
  • Giving people a chance to change with dignity
  • Knowing when to seek outside support


How to communicate effectively to handle difficult people

  • Matching your communication style to the different personalities
  • Ensuring that people genuinely listen to you
  • Minimise misinterpretations and misunderstandings
  • Clearly defining and describing the problem to be addressed
  • Avoid being side-tracked by excuses, arguments and denials
  • Using problem ownership to keep the spotlight on them, not you
  • How to be soft on the person and firm on the issue
  • Gaining constructive solutions and commitment to change
  • Using the LEAP listening model
  • Establishing a follow-up process to ensure a successful outcome


Using assertiveness skills to address difficult behaviours

  • How not to let the difficult person make you feel inadequate or uncomfortable
  • Setting your boundaries - don’t excuse unacceptable behaviour
  • Different types of power you can use to affect change
  • Simple techniques to defuse sarcastic remarks
  • Responding to constructive and destructive criticism
  • Using the Broken Record technique to deal with unreasonable demands


Constructively managing complaints and aggression

  • Recognising the difference between pseudo and authentic resistance
  • How to best respond to aggressive behaviour
  • Using the Reasonable Person Test
  • Turning complaints into commitments
  • Creating permanent behaviour change without having to confront



Keith McGregor

When it comes to training, Keith’s overriding passion is making psychology real and practical.  People are often told what they should do (be more assertive, stop worrying, don’t get so uptight etc.) but they are seldom given any insight into why they are reacting the way they are or how to actually change.  In his training Keith places a great deal of importance on understanding the individual needs of participants and then adapting his training to meet those needs.  As a psychologist Keith is able to draw on a wide range of skills and research knowledge to provide a deeper understanding of behaviour.  And above all, Keith places a great deal of importance on ensuring that the training experience is safe, enjoyable and stimulating.  This aspect may be best illustrated by a complaint from a frontline staff member used to working outdoors that “Keith kept me awake for two whole days!”

After completing his psychology degree in 1974 Keith joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force as an industrial psychologist. During 12 years in the RNZAF, Keith was involved in a wide range of organisational and personnel psychology including such areas as selection test development, interviewing, training development, selection validation, personal counselling, large scale survey work and statistical analysis. Also during this time Keith represented the New Zealand Defence Forces in behavioural sciences projects with psychologists and researchers from the British, Canadian, Australian and American armed forces.

In 1986 Keith became a director of a psychological consultancy employing registered psychologists of various disciplines: clinical, forensic and industrial. Among the numerous organisations he has worked with, both national and international, Keith is recognised for his executive assessment work and in particular for his extensive knowledge of interview techniques, testing and test development. Large scale survey research work also remains a focus, as does staff training, organisational development, career related counselling. He is also the developer of Selector-PA, E-Profiler and Career-Step computer programmes for employee selection and management.

Keith is a registered psychologist and coordinator of the industrial/organisational special interest group for the Occupational Division for the New Zealand Psychological Society and Human Resource Institute of New Zealand.

In-house Training

Do you have a number of staff who would benefit from this course? Find out more about running Dealing with Difficult People and Different Personalities, in-house at your organisation or ask us about our team training discounts:

Contact the Training Team on 09 912 3616 or email or fill in the form below.
Visit to learn more about our in-house training options & training packages.

2+ delegates $500 Off applies to this event:

DatesLocationEarly bird priceLast minute price
3 - 4 Nov, 2016AucklandPrice no longer available$2295 + GST   

   Please note that a 2.5% surcharge applies to credit card payments on top of your total amount.