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- Working with Difficult People is a popular online course offered on Linkedin Learning.
- It helps you navigate negative behaviors and use effective strategies to improve your relationships.
- I signed up and learned how to manage conflict with coworkers and spot my own negative thinking.
Let’s be honest: We’ve all worked with people who seemed hard to get along with, whether they’re micromanaging, rude, or neglectful.
One online class aims to unlock the secrets behind dealing with difficult people so they don’t have as big an impact on you. With over 800,000 enrollments so far, LinkedIn Learning’s Working with Difficult People equips you with strategies to help improve even the most challenging relationships, both in the workplace and in our social lives.
The course is led by Chris Croft, a world-leading career trainer who’s taught over 18 million people online via his massive open online courses (MOOCs) on Linkedin Learning and Udemy. Throughout the course, he explores the various types of difficult people, such as those who are aggressive, passive-aggressive, selfish, or childish – to offer strategies for transforming how you work with them.
To access this course, you need a Linkedin Learning subscription (which you can test out with a free 30-day trial). After that, it’ll cost $29.99 per month (monthly) or $19.99 per month (annually).
You can take the course here, or read a review of the course below.
What to expect from the course
Working with Difficult People covers the following topics:
- How To Identify and Understand Difficult People
- Tactics and Techniques
- Difficult People at Work
Each section includes video lectures and a chapter quiz to test your understanding of the content. It takes about three weeks to officially finish the course, but since it’s self-paced, you can technically complete it in a week or even a few sittings. Once completed, you’ll get a Linkedin Learning certificate that you can display on your LinkedIn profile.
What I loved about the course
1. You learn as much about yourself as you do about other people.
Croft makes it clear from the beginning that “difficult people” are subjective – and that we may be difficult to others in some ways as well. That’s why Croft encourages us to ask ourselves if we could be the ones contributing to tensions because more often than not, those who are difficult aren’t aware of it.
This really resonated with me because I don’t always think deeply about how my actions in the workplace affect others. After some self-reflection, I asked my colleagues for feedback on my performance. My coworkers mentioned that I was already nice to work with, but I could improve my communication skills and punctuality. I genuinely appreciated their honesty – it felt good to realize how I could better collaborate and serve others.
2. The course is very action-oriented, with realistic examples.
Throughout the course, Croft uses real-life situations to explain different choices you can make. For instance, he highlights two options when we encounter people who are difficult to work with. One is to let them continue with their negative behavior, but change how you perceive it. The other is to try to change them, which is usually harder because you have to make them aware of how they’re impacting you.
While learning these options over the three-week period, I applied them to a couple of people around me who were difficult to work with. For instance, in a group project, one coworker required an explanation for each step, which I initially found annoying. But I accepted that it was easier to just help her more on her part of the project and let my annoyance go. The other coworker simply didn’t do their fair share of the project, so I politely confronted them. By choosing to act this way, I developed better relationships with my peers and was able to work together more effectively.
3. You learn how to make positive changes at your workplace.
If you’re working at a poorly managed company, you may feel like you can’t make a difference in changing things. Croft emphasizes that we should ditch that philosophy and strive to make an impact on a more positive work culture wherever possible by starting from the team we work in.
According to Croft, one way to do this is by splitting up a big goal into smaller goals to track our progress over time. An example he gave is how small pebbles still make ripples in a big ocean. As team members, we’re the small pebbles that have the potential to make our workplace better for everyone around us.
Even though I work for a smaller company, this pushed me to start practicing greater transparency and asking for feedback on a regular basis, promoting it among my team, which could eventually reach our entire group of employees.
The bottom line
I was surprised at how much I learned over the few weeks about how I can inspire change as an individual to make my work environment better.
By the end of the course, you’ll be able to identify the negative behaviors of difficult people and practice strategies to positively transform the larger work culture, such as asking for feedback and developing healthy confrontation skills. Personally, it’s helped me build stronger relationships with my colleagues and change my negative mindset into a growth mindset.