Hell Raisers on Your Job



As the economic situation continues to decline, many workers are forced to live with difficult people. Of course, everyone knows it’s easy to manage ‘nice people.’ How do managers deal with difficult people? In fact, this reality happens in every organization. Calvin Miller, author of the Empowered Leader, explains that difficult people are those who stand between you and your objectives. Many managers seek to avoid these difficult people. Mill argues that there are generally congenitally belligerents in any key leadership role. Well, I call them “Hell-Raisers.” They love a good fight and rarely do they avoid one.  Yet, it is the organization that suffers when managers neglect to do their duty in dealing with troubled employees.

The Solution

Good managers understand how to communicate to a variety of individuals. Consequentially, a leader should try to be a peacemaker, if possible. From my personal experience, it’s hard being a peacemaker with Hell Raisers. Some people view an unwillingness to engage them in a fight as a character weakness. Likewise, Hell Raisers can be in every kind of organization. Some of the actions to consider: (a) define the problem, (b) list key participants, (c) talk to the difficult person and make him or her aware of the behavior, (d) seek to get to the root cause, and (e) obtain further actions if the behavior continues.

Dr. Bruce Winston, an author and professor, further maintains that an effective manager must be the person who builds and sustains harmony in the organization. Many people hate change. Some people are closed-minded. Yet, good managers understand the right communication tools to deal with difficult people.


Unfortunately, difficult people will continue to present problems to organizations.  When corrosive situations come up, managers need to understand how to deal with these communication issues.  Dealing with these issues can make the workplace a war zone at times. No one plans to lead an organization with belligerents. Is it possible to effectively lead a merry band of congenitally belligerents? That’s a wicked thought.  Leaders need to take control of this situation or give the Hell Raisers the day off.

How can organizations assist employees who are faced with difficult co-workers?

© 2010 by Daryl D. Green


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