dealing with difficult people

January 30, 2010

Dealing With Difficult People – General Principles

Difficult people can be found anywhere. As managers or supervisors, you are likely to have at least one you can name. It’s as common as that.

There is a general principle to use as a first step.

Most managers come across difficult people at some stage in their careers or other. They are common and challenging sometimes by their behaviors, which can be very demanding, as well as time-consuming for us all.

What is fascinating, is how many managers come across a lot, yet others seem ‘lucky’ and come across far fewer.

It’s not luck.

You see, some managers are better at dealing with difficult people than others, even though they might not always be too sure about exactly how they do it.

There is often something that triggers their character and just as often, that will provide you with detailed clues about what you can do about it.

When considering why this is, there is one simple tactic that rises above others. The managers who are best at handling difficult people, are almost always good at building relationships, which they do without much effort.

They spend time using their listening skills to pay full attention to everyone – difficult or otherwise – they come across, thereby showing them that they are interested in them. This is the first part of the simple solution to dealing with difficult people and, as such, is the key to all workplace relationships too.

After listening to the issues raised by a difficult person, these managers are also very good at asking relevant questions to show they are listening and also to help the individual find new perspectives on the situation they are being difficult about.

Once they have created this level of rapport, managers who handle difficult people well are also very good at drawing a line under proceedings and moving the difficult person right along.

It’s only by using all of these tactics, that a manager will have the best results with difficult people, and minimize the frustrations.

Indeed, some managers have been so damaged by just one difficult person in a team that they give up themselves.

All they needed was a full awareness of what is happening and the steps to take to make the problem resolved

And it’s worth bearing in mind in the organizations we work in, that there are usually two different circumstances that we come across that need slightly different twists on the simple approach above.

They are people you are with regularly – people in your life outside work even – and those you aren’t. These are people who are strangers in your business and life who you might only come across once, for example.

Both can be resolved using the tactics above quite easily, so it’s always worth taking the time to ensure that they are fully utilized.

Filed under Blog, Customer Service, Developing Your People, Management Basics by Martin

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March 10, 2009

Quick Thinking Required!

I’m fascinated by productivity. Making things actually happen, instead of pondering endlkessly is a huge step forward for any manager.

When I was in Australia recently, I met up with Dr Ken Hudson, from The Speed Thinking Zone. Ken’s premise is that things take way too long and there is a better way.

Hudson’s Law of Meetings

February 27, 2009

In 1955, Cyril Northcote Parkinson suggested, in a tongue in cheek way, what has since become known as Parkinsons Law. It states:

Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.

I would like to suggest that this be updated for meetings in what i have called Hudson’s Law of Meetings:

Meetings expand to the time set for the meeting.

Think about it. Have you ever been at a meeting when someone says, well we have the meeting room booked for the next hour why don’t we stay till then. Why should you? If the meeting is over the meeting is over.

Why do most of us feel guilty about having a shorter meeting or one that finishes early? In a recent workshop we covered all we had to do and i suggested that we finish early. One person started to complain about this.

Why I asked?

Why don’t you use the extra time to go to the gym or see your kids or go to a movie?

If Hudson’s rule is valid then we should think seriously about the amount of time we spend in meetings. Why are all our meetings at least one hour? Why aren’t these half an hour?

Imagine how much time you could free up and how more productive and enjoyable your life could be.

Ken Hudson

Ken’s thinking is fast paced, as you might expect. I like his stuff and I want to know more, despite Australia being quite a hike from where I am.

I think you might like to check it out too, right here at The Speed Thinking Zone

Filed under Blog by Martin

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