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ARTICLES
Tactics to Tame Tough People
Harmony is easier to sing than to practice in a relationship. Especially if someone has already shown their "Jerkiness". Someone in your company is singing off key. Off key means stubborn, antagonstic, complaining, insecure employees and co-workers. Do you work with someone who is hard to get along with? Here are seven guidelines for dealing with off key people:

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1. Set the example. What goes around comes around. Yet how many of you out there are actually living it?
When dealing with co-workers it is crucial to remember that what you do to and with them will be reciprocated. If you are playing argument games with an office mate you can be sure it will come back to haunt you. It takes two to tango and to tangle. If the example you set is superior and consistent behavior, it will be followed.

2. Don’t get sucked in. Recently I was in the grocery store in a great mood for no particular reason. I got ready to check out and as I approached the end of the check out line I looked at the cashier and noticed that she had a "I’m having a bad life" look on her face. I decided not to speak to her, but unfortunately one of the items that I chose did not have a price on it and so she had to call the manager for a price. The moment between the time she called the manager and the time he came was an eternity. I began to look at her and smile. Really smile. She looked back at me and as she did that sourpuss frown very slowly and carefully turned into smile. She wasn’t jumping for joy, but she was smiling. My emotion had been so much stronger than hers that she couldn’t help but get pulled in. How easily are you led into a co-workers emotion? Do you let the complainers pull you in? Do the down trodden push you down? Who is really in charge of your emotions? Lead with a smile.

3. The more you understand, the more you can be in control. How many times have you let someone else push your buttons? When they do-it says they know you better than you know yourself. Frightening isn’t it? When someone else knows you better than you know yourself they have the opportunity to take advantage of that knowledge. The bottom line is know yourself and be aware when the attempt is being made to control you. Personal awareness and understanding is 95% of the cure.

4. Reward the behavior you want to see repeated. People will do what they get rewarded for. It is interesting to note that reward for one person may be punishment for another. Making you angry could be seen as a reward for some. The key is to reward yourself.

5. Ignore the behavior you don’t want to see repeated. A few years ago I was doing a presentation for a group where I asked them what problems they were having in their team. One woman responded that sexually and racially descriptive terms were a problem for one member of their team. Every time they had a meeting he used the air time to make inappropriate remarks and everytime he did people laughed with embarrassment. Nobody could figure out why he continued to do it. After the suggestion of silence was brought up she went back and requested that the other team members also do the same. For the first time in ten years the man received no attention and ultimately no reward. Within a week he had stopped.

6. Confront in private. Another word for confront is carefront. Carefront means to make the other persons ideas thoughts and feelings as important as yours and to be gentle in your delivery. When you address poor behavior the environment of privacy is paramount. The way you conduct the interaction is more focused and direct When doing so use the following steps:
1) Ask for permission to speak to the person alone 2) Tell them your perception of the situation using the words "From my perspective" or "In my opinion" 3) Ask them for theirs: "What’s your reaction to what I just said?" 4)Move towards action for the future: ”What do you suggest we do differently?”or "My suggestion is...", "Is that something you can agree to?" Be sure to honor their perceptions as much as yours.
7. Confront by Asking Not Telling. When you come up against another persons’s ignorance the inclination is to inform them of it. Resist this! Instead ask them questions about how they did what they did or their stragegy in approaching something. Don’t ask “Why?”, it might make them more defensive. Ask "What?". It will cause them to give you information instead of justification. And who knows... you might even learn something in the process.
No matter which tactic you use the most important thought to remind yourself of is Take it seriously, not personally. You can never know what other issues trigger that response you hear. It is important to remember that even when people address their anger towards you very often it is not about you. They are usually frustrated about other events in their lives and your situation simply pulls that frustration up. Even though you can never walk in someone elses shoes it helps to have compassion for them. Too often taking it personally distorts the real issue.The best way to get tough is to get smart. Realize you have many options in dealing with difficult people. Saying what you have to say with acceptance and non-judgment will take you the farthest no matter what tactic you choose to use. When you do, dealing with them will be the easiest thing you’ve done all day. The most important unspoken aspect in dealing with any person in any situation is not what you say, but how you say it.

Pivotal Point Training & Consulting Inc • (301) 984-7818 • E-mail Us
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