Department chairs name “difficult people” or “problem faculty” as the most pressing issue they face. Coming into the position from a faculty role, as most do, department chairs have little or no training in dealing with their colleagues when they exhibit aggressive behavior, bullying, lack of collegiality, or other varieties of challenging behavior. Yet the chair’s ability to handle people and situations appropriately is key not just to his or her success in the role but also to the department’s and its members’ ability to function productively. Here, Kent Crookston provides a practical, focused, on-the-ground approach to help chairs learn to deal with challenging colleagues. Based on the literature in the field as well as on his own research and experience, he outlines six steps for successfully dealing with any kind of a challenging colleague.

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