How to deal with Difficult People & Manage Conflict

While a lot of courses teach you what to say and how to behave with difficult people and when handling conflict, this online course also addresses the most critical part: your mindset. Without first changing your mindset and attitudes, any new skills will simply melt under the pressure of a conflict situation or when handling difficult people. So on this conflict management course, you'll gain great insights into the psychology of human behaviour.

What Will I Learn?

You'll learn about the psychology of human behaviour and why misinterpretations, biases and assumptions stoke the fires of conflict

How unconsciously we fall into roles that lead us to become unhelpful – even antagonistic – when dealing with others.

A process that will help you structure and better manage a difficult conversation.

How to deal with bullies and those of the Dark Triad. You'll also learn how to manage passive aggressive behaviour.

  • We all come across individuals we find challenging and difficult. We’ve all found ourselves in conflict situations that didn’t go well – that we wish we’d handled differently.
  • And while difficult people and conflict are unavoidable – how you respond is within your control.
  • This training course aims to lessen your stress, help you regain control and feel confident that you can handle difficult conversations, difficult people and conflict situations at work.


1. Introduction

In this video, we talk about the importance of flexibility and attitude when dealing with difficult people and conflict. We discuss why you must become aware of, and overcome, your unconscious biases, habits and roles – why you must switch from autopilot to manual drive, if you’re to develop the skills to deal with difficult people and situations.

1. Introduction

Length: 4 minutesTutor: Peter Willis

2 Why it’s wrong to be right – getting into the right mindset

Having the right attitude and beliefs about ourselves, and others, is at the heart of good relationship management. In this video lesson, we talk about why it’s wrong to be right, personal responsibility and blame.

3 Projection & personal responsibility

This video lesson looks at projection. Understanding and spotting projections is crucial if you’re to better understand why you see certain people as ‘difficult’, and how it can give away your power to better deal with other people and conflict situations. This online video looks at how to spot your own projections, and how to deal with others projecting on to you.

4. Person Perception & unconscious biases

When we meet someone for the first time, within an instant (research suggests 7 seconds as the magic timeframe) we analyse someone from their appearance alone and then attribute underlying motives, social status, personality traits, even psychological states to that person. This video workshop helps you explore our various unconscious biases.

5. Getting to I’m OK, you’re OK

In this video class we explore how your view of yourself, in relationship to others, affects the outcomes you seek when dealing with difficult people. We look at how we create unhelpful lose-win, rather than win-win, attitudes and outcomes.

6. Dealing with bullies and the Dark Triad

In this online training class, we look into how to deal with bullies. We also show you how to spot those of the Dark Triad – those individuals who stand outside of the normal bell curve of normal behaviour, and make your standard insecure, cowardly bully look kind: psychopaths, narcissists and Machiavels. We’ll show you how to deal with each of these three characters in turn.

7. How to deal with passive aggressives

In this online module, you’ll learn how to deal with one particularly difficult, slippery type of individual: the passive aggressive. You’ll see how to spot their behaviour, and crucially, how to deal with them.

8. The roles people play in conflict

In this video class, we look at two classic models used in psychotherapy. These models will help you understand how you might be unintentionally playing out certain roles, and in doing so encouraging others to treat you in ways that exacerbate conflict and relationship issues. When you become aware of the roles you’re playing then you can choose to step out of them by taking different attitudes and behaviours.

9. Have an outcome

People find it hard to get what they want from a certain person because they don’t have a clear outcome in mind – they focus on the problem and not the solution. In this online video class we look at how we might inadvertently create negative outcomes, and how to design positive outcomes.

9. Have an outcome

Length: 5 minutesTutor: Peter Willis

10. How to truly listen to improve understanding & trust

Trust is crucial if we’re to deal with difficult people and resolve conflicts. And trust is only created when we feel heard and validated. So to build trust requires us to really understand where the other person is coming from – their agenda and the values behind their agenda. To do this we need to employ one of the most powerful and yet underrated of skills — the ability to truly listen. “But I’m a great listener”, a lot of people say! These people invariably half-listen – rarely applying Level 5 listening. To show you the 5 levels of listening, this video lesson contains a listening skills demonstration — a dialogue between the tutor and a colleague.

11. A process for understanding others & finding common ground

In this video lesson we talk through a 9-step process, including setting outcomes, separating the person from the issue, how to ‘bracket’ out your assumptions, and more. It includes advice and tips on what phrases and language to use – and what to avoid – when dealing with difficult conversations, difficult people and conflict.

12. Dealing with other people’s emotions

Cognitive psychologist Antonio Damasio’s research suggests that 95% of our decisions are made based on feelings, not logic. This video class looks at how to allow others to express their emotions – what words and phrases to use, and which to avoid. It also gives advice and tips on managing people in conflict situations when things get heated.

13. When to argue & when to walk away

In this online class, we discuss when people should stand and argue, and when and why it’s best to walk away.

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Tutor support for all 13 modules
1 hour 56 of online videos
3 hours of self-completion written exercises (No time limit for completing this course)
Audio downloads available
51 page course workbook pdf, which includes extra tips, exercises & subject-area research
Course completion certificate
13 learners on this course


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Peter Willis