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Cooperation is a key to productivity. When a single employee fails, or even refuses, to engage and work as requested the results can be far reaching and damaging to a whole team or department.

The day will give you new insights into what causes and motivates uncooperative behaviour at work. It will provide ideas, strategies and tactics to help take control when working with people who are difficult to manage. In short, it will tell you how to plan and what to do in response to workplace behaviour that is uncooperative or unproductive.

It is often said that 20 percent of employees account for 80 percent of a managers’ worries. There is little hard evidence to support this statistic, it does seem to fit with many people’s experience. It might seem that some people are born difficult and its tempting to label them and their actions, the reality is that they can be managed and coaxed towards a more compliant type of behaviour. The real problem is that most managers get no specific training in how to deal with these high-attention individuals.

‘The ‘difficult’ behaviours are, for example, when people arrive late, leave early, don’t complete their work in on time and have an excuse for every failing. Or perhaps they pester you and others, ask too many self-explanatory questions, neglect details, distract you and repeatedly challenge you openly. Or they can be grumpy, impolite, condescending, uninformed, misleading, inappropriate or simply wrong. These are just some of the difficult behaviours managers are expected to deal with.

This informative and engaging day gives attendees practical ideas to help them develop the skills they need to tackle the most obstructive behaviour with greater confidence.  It includes practical exercises for skills development and handy strategies to building confidence.


  • What constitutes ‘difficult’ at work
  • Possible causes, costs and consequences of difficult behaviour
  • How to be outcome oriented when handling poor performance
  • How attitude and expectations shape outcome
  • The 3 Rs that cause so much trouble (Resistance, Refusal and Recalcitrance)
  • Fresh approaches when someone has ‘form’
  • Reacting to poor attendance and unlimited excuses
  • Countering open challenges that undermine
  • How to prevent your conversation being ‘hijacked’
  • Responding to constant negativity with flair
  • The difference between discussion and obstruction
  • Creative responses to unwanted questions
  • When to engage formal procedures
  • When discussion prevents action
  • What to do when all else fails.

The ‘How to’ list includes:

Setting the scene for productive discussion

Structuring the conversation

Using questions effectively

Gathering information to inform your approach

Separating fact from hearsay

Helping a difficult employee to get back on track

Avoiding the common pitfalls that lead to failure

Breaking a cycle that ends in deadlock

Feeling more in control by ‘owning’ the conversation.


Understand why it is important to intervene early

Become more confident in the face of uncooperative behaviour

Understand how to structure performance related conversations

Develop a collaborative style to avoid confrontation

Reduce uncertainty when discussing interpersonal behaviour

‘Get through’ to others in the face of silence or resistance

Reduce the amount of time spent with ‘high attention’ individuals.

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