A Unique, Groundbreaking Way of Dealing Effectively with Difficult People

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Many is the time when people encounter others acting in a crass, often unpleasant manner, and they are at odds as to how to deal effectively with this type of behavior. This is most often becomes a problem in the modern workplace, where, not only can thi

Many is the time when people encounter others acting in a crass, often unpleasant manner, and they are at odds as to how to deal effectively with this type of behavior. This is most often becomes a problem in the modern workplace, where, not only can this type of person completely disrupt the flow of work, but will also tend to drag other people along with them, and then generate a snowball effect of chaos, but a serious impact on bottom-line turnover and profits.

The successful management of ANY problem in the workplace requires a Manager or Supervisor to:

  • Know beforehand what types of behavior to expect
  • The root cause of difficult behavior
  • Have a set of guidelines to counter the behavior

The bottom line to understanding Behavioral issues – FEAR!

People who exhibit difficult behavior, do so for just ONE primary reason: FEAR – and that fear emanates from one or more of the following;

  • A feeling of inadequacy or inability to cope
  • A fear of loss – the loss can be tangible or imagined
  • A fear of being embarrassed, and found lacking in some way
  • Plain ignorance of what a situation may or may not involve

Franklin D.Roosevelt is popularly quoted as saying “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself”

Nothing could be closer to the truth, but it tends to obfuscate what people actually do in real life, because fear is a natural human phenomenon, and human behavior in different fearful situations complicates the understanding even further. Somebody who may be meek and mild in their behavior in a domestic environment, may be rude and aggressive at work.

Once we realize that all behavior in the “difficult” zone emanate from fear, and then break the problem down to some basic essentials, it makes the issues considerably easier to handle.

There are just SIX categories of difficult behavior we need to understand, which are categorized succinctly in the table below:

BEHAVIOR MANIFESTATION HANDLING
Aggression Bullying Encouragement
  Arguing  
Negativity Pessimism Positivity
  Pig-Headed  
Nit-Picking Over-fussy Objectives
  Know-it-All  
Shy Thin-Skinned Praise
  Shrinking-Violet  
Lazy Careless Challenge
  Chattering  
Slow Pedantic Patience
  Procrastinates  

Recognizing the Manifestation of Difficult Behavior

Bullying: Those who seek a position of power by throwing their weight around, verbally and even physically

Arguing: Debating the point of a matter, especially when it is irrelevant

Pessimism: refusing to see the good side of ANY situation

Pig-Headed: Resist change by locking into one way or another of doing things

Over-Fussy: Taking an eternity to produce a good result

Know-it-all: Being closed to information from others

Thin-skinned: Over-sensitive to even perceived slights

Shrinking-Violet: avoid social contact at all costs

Careless: believing that near enough is good enough

Chattering: constant talking about nothing without getting on with the job

Pedantic: Taking considerably longer than is needed on any job

Procrastinates: Leaving things until the last moment

Handling the key behavior modes:

Bullying & Arguing: The first principle of handling this sort of person is NEVER join the argument or become physical yourself. Use encouragement for that person to change course. Encourage this type to look at both sides.

Pessimism & Pig-Headedness: Speak of the positive that will be gained if they will only persist. Don't get involved in their discussion. Present a reasonable optimism by asking for a worst-case scenario, or using the lesser of two evils argument.

Over-Fussy & Know-it-all: Set a specific time or job completion-based task. Do not get into a debate about quality. Emphasize overall objectives and suggest a logical step-by-step approach.

Thin-skinned or Shrinking-Violet: Give genuine praise for ANY, however small achievement. Do not force them into things. Get to know them, so that they feel comfortable in your presence.

Careless or Chattering: Throw down a demanding challenge for a time or deadline. Do not try to push more work onto them though.

Pedantic or Procrastinates: Initially use patience, but you will need to monitor this type. Do not be overbearing though.

Your own arsenal of skills

Circle of Handling PeopleIt is a truism to say that the ONE behavior you have control over is your own. To become really adept at handling a range of other people, you will need to be able to adapt your reactions, and be flexible as to how you apply them. This could include working on your level of self-confidence, listening much more carefully to what people are REALLY saying, not their words only, force yourself to be patient, especially if you are not inclined to be so at the moment. There is no doubt that when you are in control of how YOU behave towards others, your level of personal power will escalate dramatically, and the number of difficulties and their nature will reduce in proportion.

Some Images by Courtesy of: Stock.xchng

12 comments

Colin Dovey
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Colin Dovey
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