What you say to yourself matters as much as what you say to someone else.

We all have worked with a difficult person, and for some of us, we’re working with a whole bunch of them. For you, it could be the fierce individualist who doesn’t seem to want to be a team player, or the boss who wears his stress all over his face, or the direct report who gives you one word responses to your questions. But no matter what the behavior is that’s tough (or seemingly impossible) to tolerate, we need to develop strategies that allow us to get the work done without blowing up, silently seething, or throwing in the towel.

Of course, there are plenty of tips, tools and techniques on how to change the way we speak to others to try to get a more positive, productive outcome. But what about how we speak to ourselves when preparing to deal with a difficult person?

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