Tag Archives: difficult people

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navigating Difficult People

Navigating Difficult People Is Seldom Easy

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Have you ever faced the challenge of navigating difficult people? What did you do?

Workplaces are filled with challenges. They’re also filled with emotions, bias, and mistrust.

A Few Basics

There are a few general practices that can help guide people in most situations. One of the first and perhaps the most fundamental is to recognize that it is often your own behavior that you can control, not the behavior or personalities of others.

There is a difference between navigating peers and navigating your boss, or perhaps even the boss of your boss.

What about all of the picky people, the perfectionists, or the boundary busting critic?

Then there are the annoying people. The loud, the rude, and the obnoxious.

When we recognize that we have a choice for how we react to every situation it makes navigation a little easier.

Some of it is based on your own expectations.

What are the expectations of others? Are they too high, too low, or inappropriately aligned for the circumstances?

Once again, each person has some ability to gauge their actions and reactions.

Navigating Difficult People

A picky person may feel difficult, yet when we realize and develop a greater understanding of their expectations, their values, or beliefs, we can better navigate. We can change our interactions and lower our expectations on his or her behavior.

On the other hand, a truly difficult person may enjoy being difficult.

If you suggest blue, they want green. Show them green, and it should have been orange. Tomorrow or next week, it all changes.

In some cases, you have a choice about who you interact with, in other cases you must find a way to navigate when interaction is required. Even when it is uncomfortable.

Improving your own situation starts with thinking about the choices you’ll make and how you’ll choose to interact.

Having big expectations for others that they should change is probably unrealistic.

You can change, just don’t expect it from others.

-DEG

Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.


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Under the Bus

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We see it in action thriller movies and we hear it used metaphorically in the workplace, but one outcome most of us never want is the feeling of being thrown under the bus. That undesirable situation when a trusted peer, direct report, or boss completely breaks down any trust and respect by taking advantage of your relationship, placing blame, or otherwise sabotaging your job, career, or even personal relationships.

TireTracks-KatieHargrave

Do you have tire tracks on your back? If that trusted ally, partner, or confidant does the seemingly unforgivable you have at least three choices on how to respond:

  1. Confront them tactfully (think conversation not confrontation)
  2. Strategically manage future interactions (think situation management)
  3. Do nothing and prepare yourself for more tracks in the future

The proper choice may vary drastically from situation to situation, but most likely preparing to get more tracks is not the answer. It is unlikely that we will change other people, but we can change how we manage our interactions with them.

The first step should be to consider what led to the opportunity for their action or behavior, and how can you better manage future interactions? Bus throwers are opportunists and when they don’t see an easy opportunity they typically move on. Next we have to realize that it is not a one size fits all approach, every circumstance or situation is unique. Tactful conversation may help as well as being strategic (not tactical) when managing future interactions. People walk through open doors and opportunists seldom knock. Don’t leave open doors for the wrong people.

If you are picking yourself up at the curb, brush off those tracks, and think more strategically about how to better manage your future interactions. We may not always be able to remove difficult people in our lives, but we can change how we interact with them.

– DEG

Photo Credit: Katie Hargrave

Dennis Gilbert is a national level corporate trainer, speaker, consultant, and coach. He is leading people, teams, and organizations to new levels of personal and professional growth. He latest book is: Pivot and Accelerate, The Next Move Is Yours!


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