Wednesday, October 01, 2008

5 Steps to Derail Difficult People - Frank Lunn

That one guy at work that always has to be right; your buddy's wife who can't eat anywhere they serve burgers, or the monster-in-law, I mean mother-in-law, with too many opinions for your own good, difficult people, we all know them. So the question is, is there a right and a wrong way to deal with them? The answer is yes, if you want to avoid unnecessary confrontations.
First, keep in mind that it is very unlikely you will ever change the other person, so dealing with their difficult personality won't be just a one time incident, but an every time skill. Don't sit back saying nothing until you absolutely can't take it one more second. Your pent up frustration will only result in a catastrophic blowout. The best approach is to confront and handle the situation as it occurs. Just practice these 5 steps.
1. Decide what the exact problem is and face them alone and in person to discuss it.
Keep your posture open and inviting, avoiding crossed arms or negative facial expressions.
2. Have a clear outcome in mind and strive continuously throughout the confrontation to reach it.
May be as simple as getting the other person to listen to your viewpoint.
3. Organize your thoughts before you meet.
Think of supporting arguments, specific instances, and any documents to build a solid case and avoid generalities.
4. Keep calm in your body language and tone of voice, but stand your ground.
Remind yourself that this is a situation you are dealing with, so don't turn it into a personal attack.
5. Listen to what the other person is saying and show them that you are taking their feelings into consideration, and then get them to do the same.
Show them you are listening by keeping eye contact and repeating back what they have said in your rebuttal. Kindness, calm and rationality are your tools for getting them to do the same.
Most importantly, keep communicating! The more you practice these five steps, the easier confronting difficult people and situations will become. Taking the cool, calm and kind approach to handling the situation will throw them off guard leaving the door open for you to take control. Just as you must plan for success in all other areas, you must also plan in order to successfully derail the difficult people in your life.

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