Unit 2.2: Video – Disrutpive People

View the video below for suggestions on how to deal with difficult people.


Disruptive people can upset the flow of our day and productivity. They can interrupt the work we’re doing, the focus of our activity.

Sometimes disruptions are a good thing, since it forces us out of our routine and look at situations in a new way. That’s how creativity often happens.

Other times disruptive people can derail or destroy our productivity. There is the 20/80 rule: Just 20% of the people we encounter can consume 80% of our time and energy with their disruptions.

Controlling Disruptions

Disruptive people can be found everywhere … at the workplace, on the Internet, in classrooms.

Sometimes a disruption builds slowly; other times it just explodes. The first rule of controlling disruptions is to counter the disruptive energy before it escalates. Try to deal with problems while they’re still small, watching for escalation of tensions or hostilities.

There are three modes to dealing with disruptive people:

The Educator Mode.Try to turn the disruptive situation into a learning experience. Ask the person for ideas on how to resolve the problem. Perhaps you and the customer or co-worker can both learn something from the issue as you seek ways to fix it.

The Counselor Mode. Offer a sympathetic ear, let upset people vent their frustration and anger, and assure them you are listening and care about their issue.

The Corrective Mode. If angry people escalate their anger to the point it becomes upsetting or even dangerous to those around them, it becomes time to control the situation and remove it to a safer spot. We may need to ask them to leave, or call on a co-worker, a supervisor, or the security team to help.