Deprecated: mysql_connect(): The mysql extension is deprecated and will be removed in the future: use mysqli or PDO instead in /home/a26f9f83/public_html/articles/includes/config.php on line 159
Working with Difficult People: 3 Questions to Help You Turn Your Tormentors into Teachers > NetSparsh - Viral Content you Love & Share

Working with Difficult People: 3 Questions to Help You Turn Your Tormentors into Teachers

The Dance of Conflict

When faced with the prospect of meeting with a confrontational employee, the project manager of a New Hampshire insurance company heaved a sigh. Not again, he thought to himself. Every conversation with this guy is a struggle.

He decided to use the meeting as an opportunity to shift perspective and try a new approach. He began by imagining that the employee had good intentions but was a bit rough around the edges. He considered that maybe if he aligned with the employee, he might be better able to direct him. First, he arranged the office chairs so that instead of face to face, they were at oblique angles and generally facing the same direction. Then he took a few deep breaths and opened the door.

The employee began by stating with intensity all that was going wrong with the project. The manager's initial reaction was to resist the attack, but he refocused his attention on listening and understanding and sat quietly for a while. Instead of coming back with answers or a rebuttal, he found himself asking the employee what he thought the real nature of the problem was and what actions he would suggest to solve it. The confrontational atmosphere diffused and gave way to a sense of collaboration. The two were aligned physically in their chairs and now conceptually in the way they approached the problem. The change the manager made in himself turned out to be very effective, and both manager and employee began to work on solving the issues facing the project.

From Tormentor to Teacher

It's hard to like everyone. Some colleagues are great partners; we know their style and blend easily with them. We "dance well together." With others we always seem to be out of step. We wonder, How can they be that way? or What makes them tick? Or worse ? we don't care; we just want to be as far away as possible.

The problem is we still have to work with these people, and our reactivity in their presence gives them a kind of power over us. However, by seeking to understand the opponent, we take the initiative. At worst, we learn something. At best, we may turn them into an ally and improve the quality of the work environment.

But how do you turn a tormentor into a teacher? Begin by asking yourself some questions about who they are and why they behave the way they do.

Who is this person away from the workplace? See the different parts of this person ? the parent, grandparent, friend, dancer, skier, singer, or loved one (of someone!). Chances are you're only seeing the annoying part of your tormentor. Widen your perspective.

What is their positive intention? Underneath the disrespectful behavior, what do they really want? Respect? Independence? Control? Acknowledgement? Attention? You may realize that you have similar goals, though you seek them differently.

Why do you think they behave as they do? It's useful to adopt the attitude that their actions have little (if anything) to do with you. Most people operate out of habit. Even if they don't get the respect or attention they desire, they can't change because they don't know any other way. Maybe it falls to you to help them find it. Suggest ways they might achieve their aims more effectively. Be their teacher.

True Power

As you read this article, think of someone with whom your "dance" feels like a struggle. Then, instead of wishing they would change, start with yourself. It doesn't mean you're wrong, at fault, or need to change your opinion. It means that in order to resolve the conflict it works better to begin with what you can control ? you.

Remember that you're doing this for you. You're stuck and you want to get unstuck. Like your tormentor, you've been taking actions that aren't working, so try something new. When your well-being depends upon the actions of others, you inadvertently give them power. But with awareness and practice, you can make new choices about how you respond to the difficult people and situations in your life ? and take the power back.

Our project manager and his employee will have more opportunities to dance with conflict as their relationship changes and grows. Thanks to the manager's willingness to try something new, they've discovered common ground from which to begin the process. We all have challenging people in our lives. Will they be tormentors or teachers? Our perspective greatly influences our response.

--------------------------

© 2004 Judy Ringer, Power & Presence Training

You're welcome to reprint this story. If you do, please include this reference: Judy Ringer is a conflict and communication skills trainer, black belt in aikido, and sole owner of Power & Presence Training. For ideas and inspiration on conflict, communication, and creating the life you want, visit us online at http://www.JudyRinger.com/

In The News:

This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

Leader 2 Leader: If millennials teach us anything, it's that team-building events are important
Tulsa World
Many companies do a great job of planning team-building events, while some company leaders really do not understand why they are important. I will say, as a baby boomer leader, I used to be in the latter category. After seeing the impact team-building ...


Independent.ie

Video: Ever wonder what happens at a Fine Gael 'team building' night?
Independent.ie
Well, it appears Marcella Corcorcan Kennedy does the cooking, Kate O'Connell serves up the dishes and James Reilly looks after the wash-up. Independent.ie has obtained video from inside the Government party's team building night which took place last ...


Liverpool Echo

Praising Jurgen Klopp's team-building, the brilliance of Roberto Firmino and why Christian Pulisic fits the bill for ...
Liverpool Echo
In the latest episode, host Neil Fitzmaurice is joined by Neil Jones and Joe Rimmer - "my Firmino and Robertson" - to reflect on recent events at Anfield. Sunday's game, of course, is top of the agenda. The panel discuss a memorable afternoon, a ...


Cheddar

EXCLUSIVE: Snap Lays Off Two Dozen Employees
Cheddar
The layoffs come on the heels of a companywide memo Snap CEO Evan Spiegel sent this week detailing the importance of building a “scalable” business. “Having a scalable business model isn't enough,” Spiegel said in the memo, a copy of which was obtained ...

and more »

Polson Lake County Leader

Ronan Maidens' basketball team works on building chemistry
Polson Lake County Leader
Because Woll is always shuffling and modifying his team's roster, he said he felt he's gotten multiple players a lot of experience which should add to the Maidens' depth. “We got a lot of girls experience at the varsity level and we are trying to ...


Independent.ie

Kevin Doyle: Team building on the menu as FG cooks up calm debate
Independent.ie
The email inviting Fine Gael TDs and senators to "a dinner with a twist" was an attempt by the party hierarchy to keep everyone united in the face of a debate that has the potential to divide Ireland. The idea of holding a cookery night after a ...

and more »

Forbes

The Four Fundamentals Of Building A High-Performance Team
Forbes
Building a high-performing team is achieved by simply addressing each of these four fundamentals in a way that resonates with each team member. As leaders, it's our responsibility to help our team grow individually and teach them how to support each ...

and more »

TechRepublic

6 ideas for activities that strengthen team communication and cooperation
TechRepublic
In this last exercise, a project team is given a project and a highly limited budget and tasked with figuring out how they will complete an assigned project. The entire project team works together on this exercise to complete the task within a limited ...


APD/AFD enlisted for team building fundraiser
Daily Ardmoreite
Sides have been chosen. The lines have been drawn. In a few short months, the long-standing rivalry between police officers and fire fighters will continue for a good cause. Members of the Ardmore Police Department and the Ardmore Fire Department have ...


ITCM

Multi-star cooking team-building for the kick-off meeting at the Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte
ITCM
Multi-star cooking team-building for the kick-off meeting at the Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte. Print; Email. Details: Category: Hotel: Published: Tuesday, 16 January 2018 11:30. The Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte in Viareggio cooking team ...

Google News

Station Teams: Assembly Required

Too often teams aren't assembled. They just happen. A project... Read More

Team Building Survey Reveals Clues, Not Answers

Team Building Question:I'm a manager of a team of 20... Read More

Discovering the Truth on MLM

Truth on mlmDid you know that the truth on mlm... Read More

How to be Healthier and Happier In Your Organisation

Did you know your work environment can actually make you... Read More

Conflict Is Cool

Having experienced more than my fair share of conflict over... Read More

Presenteeism - present in body absent in productivity

Presenteeism is alive and 'not well' in many businesses today.... Read More

Team Communication Critical To Success

I'm often asked, "Why is my team always fighting fires... Read More

Motivating Teams

Introduction:Working with teams, whether as leader of a single team... Read More

You, Your Team, and Your Coach

The grand purpose of coaching is to help your managers,... Read More

12 Tips and Reminders for Team Members To Enjoy Their Team Experiences More

12 Tips and Reminders for Team Members To Enjoy Their... Read More

Whats the Secret Ingredient That Turns Groups into Teams?

What's the Secret Ingredient That Turns Groups into Teams? Working... Read More

Franchisor Award Programs; Ideas and Innovation

Franchisors should also be heavy on the award side of... Read More

Workplace Fitness: Tongue-In-Cheek

According to the Oxford Dictionary of Current English, to speak... Read More

Mastermind Team: Do You Have One?

The key to life is to be around the people... Read More

What College Taught Me About Teamwork Training

I declared a Communications Major two years into school, after... Read More

How the P.R.I.D.E. Team Changed my Call Center

Several years ago I took an assignment as a Manager... Read More

How to Turn Idea Squashers into Possibilities

Managing a small business continues to become more challenging. However,... Read More

Building Teams

Young minds are quite easy to shape. International Terrorist recruiters... Read More

Seven Keys to More Effectively Leading Teams

Maybe you find yourself in a new team environment and... Read More

Hand Out Warm Glows

Do you remember how you felt after your last interaction... Read More

Leadership, Genuine, Meaningful and Productive

One of the best lessons I have learned is the... Read More

Resolving Workplace Conflict: 4 Ways to a Win-Win Solution

The effects of conflict in the workplace are widespread and... Read More

Putting the I in Team

This sports cliche is a memorable phrase that reminds people... Read More

Having Trouble Motivating Others? Try WIIFM

Recently my fourteen-year old son Matt dressed up as Santa... Read More

Raising Issues In Your Group or Offline

In a recent group coaching session, a client mentioned that... Read More