In the third in the series about creating great teams I want to look at ways to deal with difficult personalities. Whether on going or a one off event we can’t all always control our behaviour and sometimes bad manners or sheer obstinance can spill over into our working life.
So how do we deal with those difficult personalities or situations? What tactics can we deploy to take the heat out of a situation?
First, I’d like you to consider this: good person, bad circumstance.
Sometimes our annoyance with an individual can escalate to such a degree that every time we have to deal with that individual we prime ourselves for confrontation every time. I would like you step back, pause and perhaps consider that the reason the person is acting this way is because of the situation they have found themselves in rather than just being a bad person.
Next let’s take the heat out of the situation.
Stop. Pause. Breathe. If necessary ask for a break, you can always try something like “we’re not seeing a constructive way through right now, lets take 5 minutes to grab a drink and come back to it”.
Ask their opinion.
Sometimes people react badly because they think they are having a solution thrust on them. This can leave them feeling defensive and as a result they come to the conversation with negativity. So instead of coming with a solution pre-packaged, take some time to explore solutions together.
Write it down.
If the behaviour is ongoing and you’ve tried other ways to deal with it, consider writing it down and giving the person the opportunity to read what has been written and then schedule a meeting, for this type of meeting I would really recommend taking the meeting outside of the office, a more relaxed environment can automatically take the heat out of a difficult relationship.
Tell them how you feel.
By using the words “I feel”, it can create empathy and also give the other person the opportunity to see your side of the story. You can’t argue with how someone is feeling as it’s personal to them. This tip is also good when dealing with those more senior than you if they are making unrealistic requests.