CHALLENGING COLLEAGUES: Bringing Out The Best In People At Their Worst


[semester equivalent = 3.33 credits]



Jacquie Bernbaum



In this course you will acquire skills that will help you work successfully with colleagues who behave in challenging ways and make communication difficult.  You will discover the 10 specific behaviors that represent people at their worst as well as underlying causes that can trigger these behaviors. 

We will discuss and learn strategies that will equip you with the skills to communicate with all personality types and understand how to bring out the best in people when they are at their worst. In addition, you will gain deeper insight about yourself and your work, helping you to become more centered and more satisfied with yourself and your career.    

This course is appropriate for teachers, administrators and support staff, grades K-12. 


LEARNING OUTCOMES: Upon completion of this course, participants will have:

  1. Learned about the 10 behaviors that represent people at their worst.
  2. Gained an understanding of what can provoke challenging behavior.  
  3. An understanding of how to survive challenging colleagues through skillful communication.  
  4. Learned how to ‘listen to understand’ for more successful communication. 
  5. Learned how to ‘speak to be understood’ and maximize your time with proper communication.     
  6. An understanding of how to bring out the best in people when they are at their worst. 
  7. An understanding of successful communication when phone or technology is involved.   

Completion of all specified assignments is required for issuance of hours or credit.  The Heritage Institute does not award partial credit. 


Completing the basic assignments (Section A. Information Acquisition) for this course automatically earns participant’s their choice of CEUs (Continuing Education Units), or Washington State Clock Hours or Oregon PDUs. The Heritage Institute offers CEUs and is an approved provider of Washington State Clock Hours and Oregon PDUs.



Continuing Education Quarter credits are awarded by Antioch University Seattle (AUS). AUS requires 75% or better for credit at the 400 level and 85% or better to issue credit at the 500 level. These criteria refer both to the amount and quality of work submitted.

  1. Completion of Information Acquisition assignments 30%
  2. Completion of Learning Application assignments 40%
  3. Completion of Integration Paper assignment 30%


CREDIT/NO CREDIT (No Letter Grades or Numeric Equivalents on Transcripts)
Antioch University Seattle (AUS) Continuing Education Quarter credit is offered on a Credit/No Credit basis; neither letter grades nor numeric equivalents are on a transcript. 400 level credit is equal to a "C" or better, 500 level credit is equal to a "B" or better. This information is on the back of the transcript.

AUS Continuing Education quarter credits may or may not be accepted into degree programs. Prior to registering determine with your district personnel, department head or state education office the acceptability of these credits for your purpose.



Text, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand:  How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst, is available new or used from Amazon for about $2 plus shipping.

  • Dealing with People You Can’t Stand, Revised and Expanded Third Edition: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst
    ISBN# 0071785728
    by Rick Kirschner, Rick Brinkman
    McGraw-Hill Education

    Buy from Amazon


The course text, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst, is available new or used from Amazon for about $2 plus shipping.


Jacquie Johansson graduated with a master’s degree in counseling psychology from Gonzaga University in 1990, and for the past 24 years, she has worked for Spokane Public Schools as an elementary school counselor. During her tenure, she has dealt extensively with students of trauma and poverty, as well as gifted students and those from high income backgrounds.  

Jacquie is the co-founder and vice-president of Continuing-Credits, Inc., which develops and facilitates dynamic workshops across the Pacific Northwest.  Since the start of the company 14 years ago, she, along with her teaching partner Lori Gibson, has created and taught a vast variety of courses; the emphasis is counseling skills aimed at working with both students and staff.

Jacquie’s overarching mission, both as a counselor and an educator, is to produce classes that support knowledge and develop strategies necessary to work successfully with the entire spectrum of students and parent community with an end goal of constructing a safe, welcoming, and optimal learning environment for everyone.  As test scores become increasingly important in the school setting, educators need skills to build relationships quickly and effectively with students and staff. 

Drawing upon her experience as an elementary and secondary school counselor as well as an instructor at the university level, Jacquie is able to connect to students, parents, and staff.  Her fresh, fun approach to practical problem-solving provides useful techniques that can be implemented immediately.  Jacquie keeps current on new research, which she synthesizes with time-proven information to help educators structure a high-achieving classroom, and in turn, produce high-achieving students.



CHALLENGING COLLEAGUES: Bringing Out The Best In People At Their Worst

Bramson, Robert M., PH.D (2004). Coping With Difficult People.  New York, NY: Random House, Inc.

Cohen, Eric & Sterling, Gregory (1999).  ‘You Owe Me’: The Emotional Debts That Cripple Relationships.  New York, NY; New Horizon Press.

Crowley, Katherine & Elster, Kathi (2007). Working with You Is Killing Me: Freeing Yourself from Emotional Traps at Work.  New York, NY: Hachette Book Group.

Godwin, Alan PH.D (2008).  How to Solve Your People Problems.  Eugene, OR: Harvest House.

Jansen, Julie (2006). You Want Me to Work with Who?  New York, NY: Penguin Group.

Keating, Charles (1984).  Dealing with Difficult People, Mahwah, NJ:  Paulist Press

Maravelas, Anna (2005).  How to Reduce Workplace Conflict and Stress.  Franklin Parks, NJ: Career Press

McGrath, Helen, PH.D and Edwards, Hazel (2010).  Difficult Personalities: A Practical Guide to Managing the Hurtful Behavior of Others (and Maybe Your Own).  New York, NY: The Experiment LLC.

Sayre, Kent. (2008). Unstoppable Confidence!  New York, NY.  Harper Press. 

Shapiro, Robert M & Jankowski, Mark A (2005) Bullies, Tyrants and Impossible People.  New York, NY:  Random House Inc.

Thoele, Patton (2001) The Courage to be yourself: A Woman’s Guide to Emotional Strength and Self.  New York NY.  Simon & Schuster, Inc.

Twenge, Jean & Campbell, Keith (2009).The Narcissism Epidemic.  New York, NY: Free Press.

Ursiny, Timothy (2005). The Confidence Plan:  How to Build a Stronger You.  New York, NY.  Random House. 

Wiseman, Rosalind (2006). Queen Bee Moms & Kingpin Dads. New York, NY: Crown Publishers.