Thoughts on Leadership is the brain child of Paul Bridle. This is the place that Paul shares his monthly thoughts.

Dealing with Difficult People

Posted: October 31st, 2011 | Author: | Filed under: Business, Leadership, Management | No Comments »

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The other day, I got asked an interesting question: “how do you deal with people who are basically stupid?  It’s just difficult, they are just being obnoxious with you and they are being troublesome.”

I got to thinking about that.  Well, how do you deal with somebody like that?  I actually think the biggest thing is, keep your cool.

The mindset you have is going to dominate the situation, not them.  The moment they dominate the situation and your mindset, then you have got a problem.

So, here’s my suggestion, first of all, you have to come from a premise that everybody means well.  Maybe not the way I approach things, maybe not the way you approach things but it’s the way they have approached it and there is some reason for that behaviour.  If you can understand what that behaviour problem is or whatever, then you can deal with it.

So, if the person’s intention is good, but they are just handling it wrong, then the questions are going to get a lot easier.  It’s right, okay, what was driving this?  How do you now respond to it?  Is there something else that is really the issue?  Can we get around it?  Have you got all of the facts?

This person knows something that you don’t know, often I find that people who know something that you do not know or, they think you do not know and that’s why they are so desperate to make their point to you.

So, they make their point, you listen, ask the right questions and then you are left with a situation.  Is this what I have to deal with?  Can I just politely say “thank you” and move on?  Or are they part of the decision-making process in which case I have to win them over?  If they are not part of the decision making process, do not get bogged down, just move on.  Say, “thank you very much” then get out of the way from it.

But if they are part of the decision-making process, well then you have to take it to the next level.  Start looking at what you can do to get them to see it differently and start asking them questions to make them think a little bit differently about the situation.

The questions I am going to ask you this month:

What is it that you can do yourself when dealing with this situation that stops you getting angry, getting annoyed, getting worked up and giving them the ownership for the situation, because they have basically compressed your mind with the way that they behave?

What can you do about it?  I used to do exercises; I used to start taking deep breaths, or just go off and do something else just to get away from it for a while.  Whatever it takes, have you got a strategy?  What is your strategy?  And then practice it if it’s not quite the right strategy; tweak it, until you find the right one.

We are always going to have these problems; the making of us is how we deal with them.

I hope this has been helpful.

See you next month!

Bye now


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