Don’t React to a Difficult Person; Think!
You’re probably aware that human beings are primarily driven by their emotions; their map of the world and how they believe things should be.
This comes from your values, and beliefs based on your culture. How you were brought up and what you were taught. Everything that was programmed into your brain from an early age.
I don’t like you
Sometimes we just don’t like things about other people. Perhaps the way they dress, or the way they speak, the way they look, or their attitude.
When they are similar to us, we usually have good rapport with them. But when these people are behaving in a way that we regard to be ‘difficult’ we tend react based on how we’ve been programmed.
You may think that your behavior is okay, and the other person is behaving in a way that goes against all your values and beliefs. You may also think that you’re doing your best to handle the difficult person, but you may in fact be making them even more difficult.
This comes across in the words you use, your tone of voice, and your body language.
You’ve been programmed
Your behavior is driven by your programs and we tend react rather than think.
I’m suggesting that to deal with a difficult person, you need to move to your Thinking program.
In the Thinking program, you are cool, calm and reasonable. You are thinking, not reacting. You are not making emotional decisions and you are not allowing the other persons behavior to influence your own.
You are in charge of your own behavior, not any other person.
You may not agree with the other person’s point of view or their behavior but that is their problem not yours. Again, you will not allow the other person’s behavior to influence yours.
You accept the fact that other people see the world differently from yourself.
You are in control
It is about being assertive, not aggressive or submissive. You are not saying ‘sorry’ all the time, only offering reasonable suggestions to resolve the situation.
You can change them
Your program of behavior will ‘invite’ behavior from the other person. If you’re in your controlling program and you tell the other person that you ‘can’t help them’ or ‘it’s not our policy’ to do something. Then you may ‘invite’ them to control you or even be defiant towards you.
If you stay in your Thinking program and use more reasonable words and tone of voice such as – ‘I understand why that is a concern for your Mr Customer; I’m unable to do that for you because it would be a security issue that could affect your dealings with us.’
If you stay in your Thinking program, then the other person is more likely to move to their Thinking program. They may possibly think – ‘I’m not happy with this situation, but this person is very reasonable and I may just have to accept what they say.
Reacting to difficult people will make life more difficult, thinking will make it less so.
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Extract from, How to Manage Difficult People
Posted in: Customer service, Difficult people, Leadership