Archive for September, 2008


Monday, September 29th, 2008

When dealing with your difficult person it is important to remember the
importance of body language.  Your words, tone and body language must match.

Experts tell us that crossed arms indicate we are defensive or not
listening.  This may or may not be true.  When dealing with your difficult
person we would not want to send the incorrect message to them.  They will interpret
what they see, not necessarily what you intend.  You may be crossing your arms
because you are cold – they may interpret that you are being aggressive.  There is no
right or wrong, just different perspectives.

Put your hands at your side, in your pockets (keep them still), or behind
your back, but remember not to cross your arms.

You may be doing this because you are cold or comfortable.  Unfortunately
your difficult person may read your actions completely different.

Eye Contact

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

Maintain eye contact while dealing with your difficult person.  It won’t be easy, but you will want to ensure you don’t look down (looks like you are being chastised), nor do you want to look up (looks like you are rolling your eyes), nor do you want to look uncomfortable (even though you may be).

It is important for you to maintain eye contact, or the illusion of eye contact.  You want the “playing field” to be level.  Hold your own.  Maintain eye contact (but don’t stare) 🙂

If you have a challenge with eye contact, focus instead at eyebrow level between the eyes (where the “unibrow” would be).

The other person cannot tell that you are not making eye contact, and it allows you the separation from the emotions that direct eye contact cannot give you.  You stay calm(er) and you give the illusion of eye contact (which is important).


Monday, September 15th, 2008

Each person behaves in a certain way because there is a payoff to that behaviour.

A child misbehaves in a grocery store because the payoff is that her mommy will buy her a candy bar to keep her quiet.
A co-worker deliberately does a poor job at work when delegated to so that he is never delegated to again.
A supervisor intimidates her employees because fear is a great way to maintain control over employees.

None of these behaviours make sense when you look at it black and white; but looking at the potential payoff help explains the behaviour of your difficult person

Ask yourself what the payoff is for your difficult person’s behaviour?  Why do they do what they do?  Why does it bother you so much?  Is it the behaviour you have a problem with, or the person’s payoff?

Make sure that your response to the behaviour is the correct reponse.  Are you reacting to the fact that the child is misbehaving or being rewarded for it?  Are you upset that slackers continue to do nothing in the office, or are you upset that they get away with it?

Be sure to evaluate your own responses/reactions to difficult behavior and ensure your strategy will work for you – and not against you.


Monday, September 8th, 2008

If you are attending a meeting this week, and your difficult person is attending, make a point to sit BESIDE her, not across the table from her.

When you position yourself across the table you are placing yourself in a potentially adversarial position.  By putting yourself beside your difficult person you are in a position of equality, not competition.


Tuesday, September 2nd, 2008

Difficult behaviour is usually “learned” behaviour (as opposed to deliberate).  Somewhere along the way your difficult person “learned” that when they do “x” they get “y.”  What that means to you:  They aren’t necessarily targeting you, but are repeating a technique that has worked for years.  Don’t take it personally, it probably isn’t about you.

For instance:  A child learns at a very young age that when they make noise they get attention.  As they grow, they learn the crying gets them attention.  At a certain age, that crying turns to yelling, or saying inappropriate things.  Your difficult person wants attention, and they have learned that by doing “something” they get that attention. That isn’t about you, it is about attention for your difficult person.

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