Archive for the ‘conflict management’ Category

The #1 Reason Difficult People are Difficult

yelling womanRegardless of your position or title, no matter how fabulous your organizational culture is, and no matter how happy you are at work, it is highly likely that on occasion you will deal with a difficult person.  Perhaps it’s the irate customer who explodes over a mistake, the colleague who is chronically negative, or the employee who complains or lacks follow through. Difficult people are everywhere. And while we can’t make difficult people disappear (drat!) or whip out the duct tape to silence them, it can be very helpful to have a basic understanding of why they are difficult.

The #1 reason difficult people are difficult is that it is working for them.

Their previous experience has taught them that their difficult behavior gets them what they want. Or, they believe it will get them what they want.  While we cannot make a difficult person not be difficult, we can train them that their difficult behavior is not going to be rewarded by us.

For example, consider the exploder.  The exploder yells and pitches a fit in hope that they will get one or more of the following “rewards,” just to name a few:

  • Others cave in and give them what they want.
  • Other are intimidated and won’t engage.
  • Others are upset and the difficult person then has power or control.
  • Others have hurt feelings and the difficult person then has leverage.

If you decide to stop rewarding the difficult person by calmly standing your ground, not caving in or becoming overly emotional, the difficult person will learn that while their difficult behavior might work with others, it does not work with you.  By using this approach, you will be doing as Eleanor Roosevelt suggests and “training other people how to treat you.”

The next time you are dealing with a difficult person, ask yourself, “What reward are they looking for and how can I assertively deny them that reward?”

Remember, you cannot make a difficult person not be difficult. You can train them to recognize their difficult behavior does not work with you.

For more tools to handle difficult people, check out these “on-demand” webinars.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.

You might also enjoy:

Conflict, Communication, and Your Emotional Vocabulary

Self-Talk for Emotional Control

Trigger Cooperation – Not Defensiveness

Bookmark and Share

Stop “Command and Control” Language During Conflict

child yellingPamela Jett, CSP

The ability to disagree without being disagreeable is a vital communication skill for success both at work and at home. Here is a not so obvious way to increase the likelihood your next difficult conversation doesn’t escalate or do damage to the relationship.

Watch out for “command and control” language. This is language designed to tell people what to do or how to behave, even when we don’t have the authority or responsibility to do so. Some examples of “command and control” language are:

“You need to…”

“You have to…”

“You should..”

Instead, try phrasing such as:

“I would appreciate it if…”

“I would like it if…”

“Would it be possible to…”
Using “command and control” language can trigger hostility and defensiveness in others and can cause a conversation to escalate. Savvy conflict managers make a conscious effort to choose their words wisely, especially during emotionally charged situations and they work to avoid “command and control” language and replace it with language that doesn’t make people feel disrespected, bullied, and defensive. Use this tip and learn to disagree without being disagreeable and you will be a better leader, better team member and your relationships will thrive.

For more tips on managing conflict check out this webinar series on conflict and confrontation.

Pamela Jett is a communication skills and leadership expert who knows that words matter! In her keynote presentations, workshops, books and online learning programs, she moves beyond communication theory into practical strategies that can be implemented immediately to create the kind of leadership, teamwork, and employee engagement results her clients want.

You might also like:

The Biggest Conflict Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making

Wet Blanket Negativists and the Art of the Question

Trigger Cooperation – Not Defensiveness

 

 

 

Bookmark and Share

The Biggest Conflict Mistake You Don’t Know You’re Making

by Pamela Jett, CSP

Yelling cartoon

Has this ever happened to you? You are in the midst of a crucial conversation and the other person becomes very emotional or intense. They might even begin to yell or behave in a hostile fashion. Most people will the get drawn into a discussion of this inappropriate behavior.  The conversation may then continue along the lines of :

  • “Stop yelling at me.”
  • “I’m not yelling!”
  • “Yes, you are!”
  • “Well, you don’t listen!

The conversation, which may originally have been about a crucial business or personal issue, has now morphed into a “conversation about how you are having the conversation.”  This is known as meta-commuication, communication about communication.  And, while it has it’s place, it is a poor choice to meta-communicate right in the middle of conflict and confrontation.

The next time someone engages in an (inappropriate) emotional outburst during conflict, resist the temptation to start talking about how they are communicating and stay focused on the core issue as much as possible. This doesn’t mean to let others bully or to continue to be mean, rude and nasty. However, if you can use other assertive techniques first (like the feel, felt, found technique) instead of calling out their behavior, you stand a greater chance of reaching resolution on the core issue.

Avoid the biggest conflict mistake you perhaps didn’t know you were making. Avoid meta-communication in the midst of conflict and stick to the issue at hand.

Bookmark and Share

Be Relentless When Dealing with Difficult People

by Pamela Jett, CSP

Today i am happyWhen dealing with difficult people, be relentless. Relentlessly positive, that is. The focus of my recent webinar “Snipers, Steamrollers, and Chronic Complainers” was on words to choose and words to lose in order to train difficult people that their difficult behavior won’t be rewarded. In addition to knowing what to say to difficult people, attitude also matters.

A relentlessly positive attitude is one of the best ways to communicate with a difficult person. For example, when a complainer complainers, be relentlessly positive and respond with something good about the situation. When a whiner whines “is it Friday yet” respond with the relentlessly positive “I plan on having a good day today!”

Choose to be positive in the face of their negativity. While this may sound naive, “Pollyanna” or even unrealistic, try it. It sure beats being negative!

Bookmark and Share

Wet Blanket Negativists and the Art of the Question

protect your enthusiasmby Pamela Jett, CSP

You  know the type, Don’t you? The person who makes blanket statements such as “that won’t work” or “it will take too much time” or  “that will cost too much money” in response to every new idea or proposal? These people are what I call Wet Blanket Negativists. They want to squash any new idea or put out the fire of energy around new proposals. Here are a few facts about them:

 

  • Their behavior is (typically) motivated out of fear.
  • They rarely (if ever) come up with their own ideas or solutions.
  • They typically can’t back up their negative statements with real reasons.

The high-caliber leader knows how to respond to those smothering statements. They use the art of the question. The next time a Wet Blanket Negativist tries that on you or a member of your team, try asking questions such as:

  • What part, specifically, do you think won’t work?
  • How much time is too much time and what would be a better amount?
  • How much money do you think ought to be spent?

Remember, they won’t likely have an answer. They will back-pedal or give some sort of vague “It’s just won’t work” reiteration. When they do, let them off the hook gently.

However, the next time they try to smother an idea with their wet blanket statement, they will think twice about it because they know you will ask them to back it up.

Enjoy this technique? If so, you can find more like it at my up-coming webinar “Snipers, Steamrollers, and Chronic Complainers.” More information can be found at http://JettWebinars.com.

Bookmark and Share

#1 Way to Deal With Difficult People

Java Printingby Pamela Jett, CSP

Difficult people are everywhere. There are exploders, snipers, steamrollers, and chronic complainers in our personal lives and in our professional lives. While it might be possible in our personal lives to avoid difficult people to a degree, it is virtually impossible to do so at work.

To make things even more challenging, we can’t make a difficult person not be difficult. What is helpful is to understand the #1 reason difficult people are difficult.

Difficult people are difficult because it is working for them.

They are getting some sort of reward or payoff with their difficult behavior. Perhaps it is attention. Perhaps it is a sense of power of control. Perhaps their reward is that they get their way.

While we can’t make them not be difficult, we can train the difficult person that while their difficult behavior might be working with others, it does not work with us. Ask yourself “what is the reward they are seeking?” And, then decide if you are willing to give it. Sometimes it is a simple as deciding not to commiserate with a chronic complainer or to not explode back (or give them control) when an exploder explodes.

For more techniques to deal with difficult people, check out the up-coming webinar “Snipers, Steamrollers, and Chronic Complainers” at JettWebinars.com.

 

Bookmark and Share

Trigger Cooperation – Not Defensiveness

steaming madby Pamela Jett, CSP

Conflict is inevitable, in even the very best workplaces and relationships. Some people, however, seem to engage in conflict and confrontation with more confidence and with less escalation. Here are are few tips to help you do the same.

Q- TIP!

Quit taking it personally. Remember, it is typically not about you (even when others try to make it sound like it is.) When other people behave in combative and hostile ways it is typically a reflection of their fears and insecurities.

Respond as Opposed to React

Professionals choose their behavior based on their values and objectives as opposed to simply reacting to the behaviors of others.

Be an Exceptional Listener

In particular, listen for the unspoken fear in the other person’s communication. Often, the difficult or inappropriate behaviors of others is based in fear. Understanding that can enhance our ability to respond effectively.

Words Matter

Choose your words wisely. Some words can trigger defensiveness and others cooperation. Be intentional in your word choice.

For more tools and techniques to help you manage conflict and confrontation with more confidence, visit Jettwebinars.com.

Bookmark and Share