This session provides an opportunity to brainstorm and problem-solve situations involving difficult co-workers.


  • Life Skills
  • Communications
  • Interpersonal Skills


By the end of this session, participants will be able to:

  • Identify strategies regarding how to interact with difficult co-workers.
  • Formulate plans to handle difficult co-workers.


  • Handling a Difficult Situation activity sheet—make a copy for each participant
  • Pen or pencil for each participant


Text in italics should be read aloud to participants. As you engage your post in activities each week, please include comments, discussions, and feedback to the group relating to Character, Leadership, and Ethics. These are important attributes that make a difference in the success of youth in the workplace and in life.



Ask Explorers the following questions:

  • Have you ever had to deal with a difficult person at school or on a project?
  • What happens when someone is hard to work with?
  • What should you do when someone is difficult to work with?


After soliciting answers, share these guidelines for working with difficult people.

  • Forgive the co-worker if he or she did something to hurt you.
  • Decide if it is really important for the co-worker to know you are right.
  • Don’t respond if someone says something negative.
  • Don’t talk with a co-worker about your negative feelings for another co-worker.
  • Don’t react negatively or with anger in the heat of the moment.
  • Try to understand how your co-worker feels.
  • Try to understand how other people see your actions.
  • Look for lessons to be learned through the conflict.
  • Ask yourself what the worst-case scenario is if you do or do not respond.
  • Avoid heated discussions or raising your voice.
  • Step outside or close your office door for a few minutes to calm down.
  • Be nice to someone, even if he or she isn’t nice to you.


Activity 2

Handling a Difficult Situation

Distribute the Handling a Difficult Situation activity sheet. Ask the Explorers to work with a partner and come up with a constructive solution to each of the scenarios presented on the activity sheet.

When Explorers are finished, gather together the larger group and discuss the questions below.


Some sample questions are below. They are designed to help the participants apply what they have learned to their own interests. You are welcome to use these questions or develop your own questions that relate to your post or specific focus area.


Focusing Questions

  • What is the most important point in the guidelines in your opinion?

Analysis Questions

  • What is the value in brainstorming solutions to the difficult situations described on the activity sheet?
  • How might you use this in your potential career?

Generalization Questions

  • How are the decisions you make in these situations evidence of your character?
  • How does solving a problem like those described today provide an opportunity to demonstrate leadership?
  • How might you use this in life or in college?
  • Why is this important?
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