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5 Ingredients to Working with Difficult People

IStock_000017265087_webA while back I was working with a person acting as a project manager with a large client of ours.  I soon discovered that no one liked this person which was affecting buy-in for the whole project.  Everyone felt this person was dictatorial and didn't listen to other ideas for doing things.  Over time, I was able to work well with this person and develop relationships with the people around the organization to foster buy-in.  You have probably been in a similar situation - it's not a matter of having extraordinary communication ability, you simply have to learn to work with difficult people.  You find a way.  I thought through that experience and while there are specific techniques that we can use with difficult people, I came up with five key ingredients we must have first when dealing with difficult people.

Our motive...peace.  Fostering a peaceful relationship (that gets the job done), not proving ourselves right.

Our tactic...service.  Sincerely seeking ways to help the difficult person, not focusing on what's wrong and unreasonable.

Our strategy...perseverance.  We go the extra mile if that's what it takes to win over the person and create a productive, peaceful relationship.

Our approach...soft and silent.  We speak softly and say as few words as possible when someone is angry and unreasonable.  We don't match their tone, volume, and word count which quickly escalates into a no-win situation.

Our super power ingredient...humility.  We don't mind if someone else gets the credit, instead of insisting that we come out looking good.

While there is no guaranteed 1-2-3 process to work with difficult people (they are people after all), it is amazing how often those key ingredients have worked to create productive peace and reduce strife.





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