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DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PEOPLE

Here are 10 tips on how you can tackle hostility and emerge with grace

CONFLICT is built into the very fabric of every organisation in today's changing world. When it is not dealt with well, it can create hostility and sap the time, energy and productivity of even the best relationships.

Conflict can oiso be a catalyst that sets the stage for changes needed. You will never deal with conflict perfectly, but here are tO tips worth using in dealing w~h difficult people on and off the job:

1 Talk to people instead of talking about them
Dealing with conflict directly may be uncomfortable and lead to some disappointment, but i1 cuts down the micd-reading and resentment that can occur when problems are not dealt with dirtily. Timing, tact and keeping a distance will always have their place, but make sure you still keep conflict eyeball to eyeball.

2 Do not avoid conflict
People often vacillat e between the pain of dealing with unresolved problems and the guilt over not dealing with them. Such indecisiveness saps energy and time; it can affect morale and turnover. Be a problem-solvers, not a problem-evader. Problem-solvers learn to deal with conflict as soon as it arises.

3 Develop an effective communication style
Focus on future prablem-solving, not past issues, You want change, not just an admission of guilt, Winners of arguments never really win because consistent losers never forget. You want results, not enemies seeking revenge.

4 Deal with issues, not personalities
It is all too easy to abuse the “difficult" party instead of dealing with issues, Be assertive, but acknowledge that others can have different positions, values and priorities.When you personalise disagreements and hit back, you invite escalation.
Keep the focus on mutual problem-solving, not name-calling.

5 Face resistance
Attempts at threatening or silencing criticism will only force rests; tance underground and increase the chances of sabotaging even necessary changes.

Push for specific suggestions, if criticism is extensive and continues even after you look it in the eye, it may not be resistance –know when to admit that you are wrong.

6 Redefine caring
This includes confronting someone on a timely and consistent basis. Avoid labels that give you excuses for not confronting a problem, for example, so-and-so is too sensitive or too nice, or he is of a certain background or race. If you believe people cannot change or benefit from feedback, you will tend nol to confront them. Instead, treat all equally, and be wring enough to be firm. fair and consistent.

7Avoid forming adverse relaflonshlpl
In strained or negative relation-ships, everyone loses. Take seriously the words of Confucius: “Before you embark on a journey of revenge, dig two graves."

Even the most difficult person usualty has some people he works with well. Learn to look for the best even in difficult people.

8 Invest time in building positive bridges
Abraham Lincoln reportedly said: "1 don't like that man. I'm going to have to get to know him better," Look for ways to be sincere, it takes a history of positive contact to build trust. Search for areas of common ground, Even if bridge-building does not work, by being a positive bridge builder, you build a reputation everyone will come to respecl, even if a few difficult people never respond.

9 Keep your perspective
Even if none of these suggestions work, tell yourself: "This too shall pass!"

Keep evidence of your efforts to build a better relaticnship. Find ways to work on projects that build new exposure in other areas within your organisation. You may just find a new position with a differmt team to work with.

With a crazy or brutaJising boss or co-worker, you may even have to leave. Always invest 5 per cent of your, time in your next career so you are continually developing career choices, You want to stay for the right reasons, not because you are trapped.

10 Spend some time Iooldng in a mirror
Customer sewice guru Ron Zemke put it well when he said: "If you find that everywhere you go, you're always surrounded by jerks and you're constantly being forced to strike back at them or correct 1heir behaviour, guess what? You're a jerk,"

Start by making sure that you are not being difficult yourself.

>> The Choice is yours


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