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Defusing Workplace Drama: Expert Advice for Managing High Conflict Personalities • It's All Your Fault • Episode 408

Defusing Workplace Drama: Expert Advice for Managing High Conflict Personalities

Navigating High Conflict Personalities in the Workplace

In this episode of “It’s All Your Fault”, Megan Hunter and Bill Eddy are joined by special guest Cherolyn Knapp to answer listener questions about dealing with high conflict personalities at work. As experts in the field of high conflict resolution, Bill and Megan provide valuable insights and strategies for managing challenging workplace interactions.

Identifying and Responding to High Conflict Behavior
The hosts and their guest discuss how high conflict individuals may present in the workplace, noting that they don’t always yell or argue overtly. Passive-aggressive behavior, spreading rumors, and sabotaging others are common tactics used by high conflict personalities. Bill and Megan emphasize the importance of recognizing these behaviors and offer techniques for responding effectively, such as using “EAR” statements (empathy, attention, respect) to connect with the person and defuse the situation.

Supporting Targets of High Conflict Behavior
Megan, Bill, and Cherolyn address a listener’s question about feeling unsupported when targeted by a high conflict individual at work. They acknowledge the pain and difficulty of such situations and provide guidance on how to cope. The hosts suggest looking at personal choices and options, seeking support from others, and considering whether the current work environment is ultimately sustainable for one’s well-being.

Questions we answer in this episode:

  • How can I protect my team from a high conflict individual in another department?
  • What does high conflict behavior look like when it’s not overt yelling or arguing?
  • How can I get support when I’m being targeted by a high conflict person at work?
  • What role do enablers play in perpetuating high conflict behavior?

Key Takeaways:

  • High conflict behavior isn’t always loud and aggressive; it can be passive-aggressive, such as spreading rumors or sabotaging others.
  • Using “EAR” statements (empathy, attention, respect) can help defuse high conflict situations and connect with the person.
  • When targeted by a high conflict individual, it’s important to assess your choices and options, and seek support.
  • Enablers, whether supervisors, coworkers, or something else, can perpetuate high conflict behavior by siding with the high conflict person.

This episode offers valuable insights and practical strategies for navigating the challenges of high conflict personalities in the workplace. Whether you’re a manager looking to protect your team or an individual feeling targeted by a high conflict coworker, Bill, Megan, and Cherolyn’s expertise can help you identify problematic behaviors, respond effectively, and prioritize your well-being.

Links & Other Notes

Note: We are not diagnosing anyone in our discussions, merely discussing patterns of behavior.

Hosted by Bill Eddy, LCSW, Esq. and Megan Hunter, MBA, It’s All Your Fault! High Conflict People explores the five types of people who can ruin your life—people with high conflict personalities and how they weave themselves into our lives in romance, at work, next door, at school, places of worship, and just about everywhere, causing chaos, exhaustion, and dread for everyone else.

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