Archive for August, 2009

How do you respond to inappropriate statements?

Thursday, August 20th, 2009

Congressman Barney Frank (Mass) became a bit of a celebrity this week by answering what many would consider an inappropriate question with an attack back: “Mam, what planet do you spend most of your time on?”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nYlZiWK2Iy8

While it made for an entertaining news clip, it was not the correct way to handle this lady. He followed it up by saying “Having a conversation with you is like having a conversation with the dining room table, and I have no interest. Again, he blew it. He looks immature, irresponsible and completely unprofessional.

It is tempting to resort to sarcastic low blows, to embarrass or fight back, but in a professional environment, you risk your own reputation and credibility by doing so. If you watch the above clip, he looks like the difficult person at the end of it, and I almost felt sorry for the woman.

Don’t do this regardless of how tempting it is.

Mr. Frank should have taken the “camouflage” technique to deal with this woman. To camouflage means to disguise the question/statement. I describe it as being deliberately naive when responding to it.

What should have happened:

Lady: “Why do you continue to support a Nazi policy…

Mr. Frank: “I support this policy because….”

He should have deliberately left out the Nazi comment and continued.

This way the situation would not have escalated the way it did.

If we want to “take the high road” and we want to appear as the professional in any situation, we have to strategize our approach. Refuse to be baited by your difficult person, or difficult situations.

I bet that later that evening Mr. Frank regretted how he handled this woman. I also bet that if he had used the camouflage technique he would have been proud of himself.

Are YOU the problem?

Wednesday, August 12th, 2009

Yesterday, I received an email from Sue that made me chuckle. She realized that she was the difficult person at work.

I laughed and advised Sue not to worry, as we are all someone’s difficult person.

Whoever you have labeled your difficult person has likely labeled you as their difficult person.

Why? Because at the moment, your difficult person is blocking you from getting what you want. You react to their negativity, their laziness … whatever it is they are doing that bothers you. You do everything you can to make them stop this behaviour.

For instance, lets say your difficult person is chronically negative. Every day they complain about something (the weather, the economy, the boss etc). You don’t like this and try to change your difficult person into a more positive person. So, they say “I can’t believe its raining again! I’m going to start building the ark.” You are annoyed that they let the weather bother them, so your response (to be positive) is “I love summer rain. It makes everything so green and lush and everything smells so nice. How can you complain about something so beautiful?” … and you put a big smile on your face.

Your difficult person (because they are chronically negative) labels you as difficult because you constantly disagree with them (they see you as someone who is telling them they are always wrong).

Naturally, they don’t like this behaviour and therefore label you as difficult.

If you don’t want to be difficult, then stop letting their behaviour bother you, and stop getting in their way!

Not so easy is it?

You need to do something different in order to get your needs filled. Don’t fall into the trap that if you are stronger than they are, you will win. You might – and you might not, but either way, you are being difficult.

I assume that you don’t want to be difficult (I certainly don’t), so start evaluating how you are hurting your own efforts and start taking some creative (and different) approaches to getting your difficult person to change.

If you are at the point that you need to have a conversation or a confrontation with your difficult person, you may want to attend our next teleseminar. Wednesday, August 19, 2009 at 2:00pm EST is the start time for this one hour session.

$99 – unlimited attendance
Toll free phone number provided
MP3 recording of session for continued learning
30 days email coaching provided to all participants
60 minutes of your time

Email Rhonda@on-the-right-track.com with “Reserve Me for Confrontation Skills” in the subject line.

Can you detach?

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009

Do you take the actions of your difficult person personally?  Do you think that they sit at home at night and plot how to ruin your next day?  Do you feel that they have it in for you (and are trying to get you fired, look bad or worse)?  Of course you do.

One of the best things that you can do when dealing with your difficult person is to detach from the situation.  You have become emotionally involved and it is affecting your ability to deal with them.

OK, maybe they do have something against you.  Maybe they really are trying to get you fired, and maybe it is about you.  Realistically that rarely happens and it really isn’t about you (perhaps your position, your name, your status), but it doesn’t feel that way, so we take everything personally and get emotionally involved.  Admit it, you have lain awake at night trying to figure out why they do this to you right?

Here’s a few quick tips on how to detach from this situation:

–    Realize that they would behave this way to someone.  Remember – they act this way because there is a payoff for them. There is a reason.  The payoff for their behaviour is such that they will act like this with someone – it just happens to be you

–    Place a barrier between you and your difficult person.  Imagine it is an invisible shield that you put up whenever they enter the room, or whenever their name is brought into conversation.  Protect yourself from taking it personally

–    Watch how they treat others, and realize they do this to others as well (it is not just you)

–    Play a game with yourself.  Predict what their response, or action will be, and if you are correct, offer yourself a reward. For example, every time they speak in a condescending tone to you, you can stop at Dairy Queen.  Once it becomes a game to you, you almost look forward to their bad behaviour as you get a reward

–    Practice ‘letting go’ of your emotional reaction with them

I realize it is all easier than it sounds, but in order for you to deal with your difficult person professionally, respectfully and consistently, you will need to become detached.

Go ahead, practice, and start counting points for your team!

Our next teleseminar on “Confrontation Skills” will be held on August 29th at 2pm EST. Register today at www.DealingWithDifficultPeople.org/webinar/


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