How to Deal with Challenging Association Members

image of two people arguingUncomfortable situations with difficult co-workers, members, and board members are part of day-to-day challenges for association professionals.

You can’t change people, but you can change the way you deal with them. Use techniques featured in the first of our 4-part blog series, How to Deal with Challenging Members, to handle whatever is thrown your way.

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The Art of Dealing with Difficult People

Everyone wants to be treated with respect. It’s important that people feel they are being heard and their thoughts and feelings are being acknowledged. Focus on the person and resist the urge to interrupt.


Losing your temper won’t get you anywhere. Regardless of how you’re being spoken to, keep your responses respectful and use a calm tone of voice. Don’t add fuel to the fire by arguing or being defensive. By allowing the other person to vent and while keeping your cool, the other person will likely be more open to what you have to say.


It’s impossible to know what other people are going through. Try putting yourself in their shoes and avoid judging them based on their reaction/behavior to the situation. Separate the person from the issue.


Is there an underlying need that’s not immediately apparent? By identifying what the person is actually trying to gain or avoid, you will be one step closer to resolving the situation.

Keep an eye out for the rest of the series, so you’re ready to handle whatever gets thrown your way.

The Art of Dealing with Difficult People includes
various techniques to handle encounters with challenging personality types.

SEE ALSO: [BLOG] Dealing with Difficult Members and Co-workers

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