Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

One Way to Manage Difficult People

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Here is a really simple way to manage a difficult person. Buy my book How to Manage Difficult People, and smack them discussionround the head with it!

Okay, let’s get a little bit serious.

When you speak with another person, it will most certainly be on a business level. Almost all communication takes place on a business level.

Buying a bar of chocolate in a shop requires Business level communication. You say what you want – ‘I’d like a bar of fruit and nut chocolate, please.’

Or in the office: ‘Mary, please type this report and return it to me this afternoon.’

These Business level interactions could be so much better if you add a Human level.

Think about your experiences

I’d like you to think for a moment about a time when you had really exceptional customer service. Perhaps it was when you booked a holiday, dealt with a utility company, or bought something in a shop or a store. Think about it for a moment and write down what made this service so good. When I do this exercise with a group of people, they can always tell me all the bad stories. However, they eventually come forward with examples of good service and they say things like:

  • The person who dealt with me was really kind
  • They listened to me
  • They made me feel important
  • They went out of their way
  • They were very friendly
  • They used my name

Occasionally some people will say:

  • The service was fast
  • They delivered on time
  • The product or service did what they said it would

The first group of answer always outweighs the second group. In other words – people make decisions about the level of customer service based on the interactions they have with the people in the business.

The comments in the first group are Human level responses.

The comments in the second group are Business level responses and are taken as a given.

We expect goods or services to be delivered on time, and do what the supplier said they would.

Think about a job experience

In a similar situation; if I ask participants in a seminar, to describe a job that they enjoyed, and what made it a good place to work, they rarely say things like:

  • I was well paid
  • The working conditions were excellent
  • We had a first-class staff restaurant
  • I attended some great training courses
  • I felt I had job security

They are more likely to say:

  • My boss always listened to me
  • He made me feel my comments had value
  • She was firm but fair
  • Told me when I did something well
  • Helped me when I hadn’t done something well
  • Told me what was happening in the company
  • I had some great colleagues and we worked well together as a team

The comments in the first group are Business level response.

The comments in the second list are Human level responses.

When interacting with other people, particularly difficult people, Human level responses are vitally important. It doesn’t matter if it’s face to face, over the phone, or by e-mail. You need to mix the Human with the Business.

People often say to me:

‘I don’t have time for all this nicey-nicey, touchy-feely stuff; I need to get the job done.’

My answer to that is:

‘If you introduce some Human level responses with the people you interact with, be they customers or staff, then you will get the job done, better, faster, and with less mistakes.’

This isn’t about being nicey-nicey, it’s about meeting the human needs of every person you interact with.

Human beings are almost totally driven by their emotions. If you meet their human needs then you’ll make managing difficult people a whole lot easier.

Check out the book – How to Manage Difficult People7018_155572617408_699287408_2759755_4580853_n

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Posted in: Difficult people, Leadership, Management, Motivation

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