How to Lead the 5 Most Difficult People

5 Practical Steps to Lead Difficult People

1) Assess what’s going on under the surface.

Very few people want to be difficult. Some don’t know they are perceived that way. Take a little time to dig deeper than the issue at hand to see if you can discover what might be troubling them at a heart level.

2) Establish a reasonable and honest conversation.

Any reasonable conversation includes two people who are willing to listen, understand both sides, and move toward the greater good. This always requires personal authenticity and full honesty.

3) Discover what they really want.

Expectations are often at the core of someone who appears to be difficult or is genuinely a difficult person. Ask this direct question, “What do you want?” It is a liberating question because there is freedom in the answer.

You may discover they don’t know what they want. That is not only a problematic person but a dangerous one. Proceed with caution until they can verbalize what they want.

4) Set limits and boundaries.

The person can disagree with you, but it must be done with respect. Their tone and demeanor matter.

Agreement on the overall mission over anyone’s personal agenda must be agreed upon.

Progress is essential. You may get stuck for a brief time, but moving forward both relationally and according to the purpose of the ministry is mandatory.

5) Lead them to adopt a different perspective.

The purpose here is not to make someone think like you do, but to help them become a healthy and happy part of the body of Christ. We never want to see someone leave the church, but sometimes that’s OK.

I trust that this brief article is helpful and that the Holy Spirit brought it to you at just the right time either for you or someone on your team.

Increasing your ability to lead a difficult person, not only allows you to appreciate them in a more meaningful way but helps the greater mission move forward.

This article originally appeared here.

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Dan Reiland
Dr. Dan Reiland serves as Executive Pastor at 12Stone Church in Lawrenceville, Georgia. He previously partnered with John Maxwell for 20 years, first as Executive Pastor at Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, then as Vice President of Leadership and Church Development at INJOY. He and Dr. Maxwell still enjoy partnering on a number of church related projects together.