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July 28 , 2010

It's All Your Fault at Work!

Managing Narcissists and Other High-Conflict People


No, it’s not just your imagination—more and more people in the workplace today have high-conflict personalities. Co-workers, clients, even bosses are behaving in narcissistic or bullying ways, choosing targets and then placing blame on them, treating them with disdain, or otherwise acting in aggressive, inappropriate ways. Some go so far as to spread damaging rumors, harass, or directly sabotage their targets, among other extreme behaviors. These are not people who are just having an occasional bad day; these are people who display a repeated pattern of high-conflict behavior. And they aren’t just difficult; they are the most difficult of people. They can make your life at work stressful, frustrating, and extremely challenging. The good news is that their behavior is not about you—it’s about them. What’s more, you can learn strategies and techniques to deal with them more effectively at work. Based on Bill Eddy’s high-conflict personality theory, he and co-author, L. Georgi DiStefano, expertly define the problem so you can recognize potential high-conflict people (HCPs) in your own work life. They describe the key characteristics of HCPs and the typical behavior patterns of five main types of high-conflict personalities. Then they walk you through their proactive approach for minimizing conflict and keeping interactions with HCPs as peaceful as possible. You’ll learn about—and see examples of—how to use a simple, proven four-step method to help calm HCPs, analyze your options, respond to hostility, and set limits on extreme behavior. While you cannot ultimately change someone else’s personality, you can adapt your own behavior and respond to the person in different ways that make things better at work for yourself, the high-conflict person, and your organization.
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