Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

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5 Action Ideas to Motivate Difficult People

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When was the last time you had to deal with a difficult person.

It was probably an external customer or client, but Businessman Surprisedperhaps it was an internal customer, such as a one of your staff, a colleague or even – your boss!

In business, we usually strive to provide extraordinary service to both our internal and external customers. However, in the real world, things go wrong and mistakes are made.

These “customers” will often judge your level of service based on how you respond to a mistake. Do it well and they’ll probably forgive you, and possibly even say positive things about your business, or your abilities, to other people.

The important thing to realise when dealing with an upset person, is that you must –

Deal with their feelings, then deal with their problem.

Upset customers are liable to have strong feelings when you, your product or service lets them down, and they’ll probably want to dump these feeling on you.

You don’t deal with their feelings by concentrating on solving the problem, it takes more.

Here are 5 action ideas that deal with the customers’ human needs:

1 – Don’t let them get to you

Stay out of it emotionally and concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively. People may make disparaging and emotional remarks – don’t rise to the bait.

2 – Listen – listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. The other person wants to know that you care and that you’re interested in their problem.

3 – Stop saying sorry

Sorry is an overused word, everyone says it when something goes wrong and it’s lost its value.

How often have you heard – ‘Sorry ’bout that, give me the details and I’ll sort this out for you.’

Far better to say – ‘I apologise for ……’

And if you really need to use the sorry word, make sure to include it as part of a full sentence. ‘I’m sorry you haven’t received that information as promised Mr Smith.’ It’s also good practise to use the other person’s name in a difficult situation, but not overdoing it

It’s also good practice to use the other person’s name in a difficult situation, but not overdoing it

4 – Empathise

Using empathy is an effective way to deal with the person’s feelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance of what they is saying and feeling.

Basically the message is – ‘I understand how you feel.’

Obviously this has to be a genuine response, the other person will realise if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronised.

Examples of empathy responses would be – ‘I can understand that you’re angry,’ or ‘I see what you mean.’

Again, these responses need to be genuine.

5 – Build rapport

Sometimes it’s useful to add another phrase to the empathy response, including yourself in the picture – ‘I can understand how you feel, I don’t like it either when I’m kept waiting.’ This has the effect of getting on the other person’s side and builds rapport.

Some customer service people get concerned with this response as they believe it’ll lead to – ‘Why don’t you do something about it then.’

The majority of people won’t respond this way if they realise that you’re a reasonable and caring person.

If they do, then continue empathising and tell the person what you’ll do about the situation. ‘I’ll report this to my manager’ or ‘I’ll do my best to ensure it doesn’t happen in the future.’

Make no mistake about it; people, be they customers, staff or your boss, are primarily driven by their emotions. It’s therefore important to use human responses in any interaction particularly when they are upset or angry.

It’s therefore important to use human responses in any interaction particularly when they are upset or angry.

If people like you and feel that you care, then they’re more likely to accept what you say and forgive your mistakes.

Comment below or send me and email and give me your thoughts –  alan@themotivaitondoctor.com

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8 Benefits of Spending Time with Your Team

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  1. You get to understand them betterinterview 3

Almost every employee wants to know that their manager is genuinely and positively interested in them. They may not always give that impression by their demeanour but trust me – they want to know you care; they want acceptance from you.

If they know you care about them, then your relationship will be much more productive.

  1. You find out how they’re handling the job

As well as getting to know the individual members of your team on a human or personal basis, you need to get to know them on a business basis.

How are they getting along with the job? And it’s not a matter of asking – ‘How’s the job going?’ If you ask that, then you may get a list of complaints or you may just get – ‘It’s all going fine.’

You need to be more specific in your questions and encourage descriptive answers.

  1. It helps you deal with problems

One of the main benefits of spending time with your team is that it lets them know you’re there to help with problems. Of course, you’re not there necessarily to solve their problems but to coach them to solve their problems. 

  1. They get to know you 

Your team will want to know about you at both a personal and business level. Again, that doesn’t mean sharing your intimate thoughts, but it’s similar to the things you want to know about them.

Even although team members don’t ask you about yourself – tell them. Reveal bits and pieces about yourself over a period of time.

What you’re really saying is – ‘I’m human, I’m like you, and I experience the same situations.’

  1. You have the opportunity to give them feedback and coach them

This is one of the most important things the successful manager can do. This is your opportunity to tell them the things that you do like about their performance and also the things you don’t like.

Too often managers leave feedback until a performance review and often these are only once or twice a year.

  1. They have the opportunity to give you feedback

Now this may make you feel a bit nervous, and it certainly can be scary when you’re not used to it, but it is very motivational.

If you create a healthy open environment in your team then they should feel comfortable giving feedback to you. It may not always be what you want to hear but it can certainly improve your relationship with them.

  1. It encourages opinions and ideas to flow from them

It’s often the case that members of your team have positive suggestions that will benefit the team, the business and you.

However, they may not always be willing to seek you out and tell you about them. Perhaps they may feel foolish or embarrassed in front of their colleagues.

If you’re spending time with them, then this is the ideal opportunity for them to give you their thoughts. Of course, you sometimes have to dig this out and encourage it.

  1. It allows you to explain the company’s mission and the individual’s role in this.

When you spend time with each individual it gives you the opportunity to explain how the business is going and how the team is performing. This is often done at a team brief and that’s okay.

However in a one to one situation you can discuss in more depth and encourage ideas and feedback from them as described above.

Team leaders and managers, need to get up off their chair, or out of their office and spend time with their team.

That is, if they want motivated and engaged staff.

And if you want to know more, send me an email at alan@themotivationdoctor.com

And if you want to read more –

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12 Steps You Can Use to Deal with Employee Concerns

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When you spend time with your individual staff members (which I hope you do) then it’s inevitable that that you’ll discussionhear about their concerns and problems.

These could be on a human level; however they’re more likely to be on a business level.

Believe me, I’ve been there, I understand the challenges. And these 12 steps will help.

Whether it’s a human or a business problem, the same rules apply.

  1. Don’t get hooked

Don’t react to a concern. It’s very easy to react with – ‘Here we go again, the same old moans and groans. They’re always on about this and there’s nothing I can do.’

If you react this way, then it’ll show on your face and in your tone of voice. The team member then thinks – ‘What’s the point; he’s not interested in my problems, why should I bother.’

Get into thinking mode and stay out of it emotionally. Concentrate on listening non-defensively and actively.

If the team member makes disparaging and emotional remarks – don’t rise to the bait.

  1. Listen– listen – listen

Look and sound like you’re listening. When face to face you need to look interested, nod your head and keep good eye contact. Over the phone you need to make the occasional ‘Uh-Huh – I see.’

I’ve seen managers, when faced with a problem from a team member, start to do something else, like work on the computer. And I’ve heard them say – ‘It’s okay, I can do two things at once, I can listen to you and work on the computer.’

No you can’t, and the message your team member gets is – ‘My problem isn’t that important, my manager just isn’t interested.’

When you’re spending time with your people you need to give them your full attention. You need to look them in the eye, concentrate on them and make them feel that what they say is important and deserves your attention.

And if you don’t have time at that particular moment, make an appointment for a more suitable time for both of you.

  1. Write it down

As well as looking interested in your team member’s concern, it’s a good idea to write it down.

I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking – ‘I’ll remember that when I get back to the office and I’ll check on it.’

However, one person I was with said – ‘You won’t do anything about that Alan because you won’t remember it.’ From that point on I wrote things down.

  1. Repeat back

It’s also a good idea to paraphrase what the team member has said. It ensures your understanding and lets them know you’ve been listening.

  1. Use names

It may seem like a simple thing but it’s very important.

You could say in response to a concern – ‘I’ll speak to the accounts department about that.’

It would be far better to say – ‘I’ll speak to the accounts department about that Susan, thank you for bringing it to my attention.’

A person’s name is one of the warmest sounds they ever hear. It says – ‘I recognise you as an individual.’

However, I suggest you don’t overdo it as it may come across as patronising.

  1. Take ownership

This is the same as dealing with an external customer.

Your team members do not want to hear you say – ‘That’s nothing to do with me, that’s the sales departments fault.’

Do not blame someone or something else. It may be the responsibility of the sales department, but it needs to be explained in a logical and factual way.

  1. Watch out for people’s egos

If your team member is really wound up about something, let them get it off their chest. Don’t interrupt and don’t argue.

Don’t jump in with solutions and try to solve the problem then and there.

And for goodness sake, don’t ever say – ‘Calm down.’

  1. See it from their point of view

You might find it hard to understand what they’re on about; however put yourself in their shoes.

If you were doing their job every day, how would you feel?

You might even consider that their concern is something fairly trivial and you think – ‘What’s the big deal, I’ll fix it right away.’

It is a big deal for the team member and they want you to appreciate it.

You don’t necessarily need to agree with them; however you need to accept the fact that it’s a problem for them.

  1. Be very aware of your body language and voice tone

We often exacerbate a situation without realising it. Our tone of voice and our body language can often contradict what we’re saying.

We may be saying ‘sorry’ however our tone and our body language may be communicating our frustration and annoyance.

People listen with their eyes and will set greater credence on how you say something rather than what you say.

It’s also important to use a warm tone of voice when dealing with a team member’s problem. This doesn’t mean being ‘nicey-nicey’ or behaving in a non-assertive manner.

It’s about showing that you’re interested in what they’re saying and that you care.

  1. Deal with their feelings, and then deal with their problem

Using empathy is a very effective way to deal with a person’s feelings. Empathy isn’t about agreement, only acceptance of what the team member is saying and feeling.

Basically the message is – ‘I understand how you feel.’ 

This really has to be a genuine response, the person will realise if you’re insincere and they’ll feel patronised.

  1. Under promise, over deliver

Whatever way you respond to a team member’s problem, do not make a rod for your own back. It’s often tempting in a difficult situation to make promises that are difficult to keep.

We say things like – ‘I’ll get this sorted this afternoon Paul and I’ll phone you back.’

It may be extremely difficult to get it sorted this afternoon.

Far better to say – ‘I’ll get this sorted by tomorrow afternoon Paul.’ Then phone Paul back the same afternoon or early the next morning and he’ll think you’re great.

  1. You don’t win them all

Remember, everyone gets a little mad from time to time, and you won’t always be able to placate or resolve your team member’s problem.

There is no magic formula.

However the majority of people in this world are reasonable people, and if you treat them as such, then they’re more likely to respond in a positive manner. (And make your life a lot easier)

And there is more in this book to help you. The one on the right is the eBook version. Just click on the book for where to buy.

 

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10 Ways to Motivate a Difficult Manager

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Let me ask you a simple question; does your manager motivate you? Or do you find him or her difficult to deal with? If you’re lucky then it will be the former rather than the latter.article400_man_woman_motivate-420x0

It’s not my fault

When I’m running a seminar for managers on how to motivate their staff, the comment I hear most is – ‘How can I motivate my staff when my manager doesn’t motivate me, and even makes my life difficult?’

So the next question is – what are you going to do about it?

One way to do it

One of the best ways to motivate your staff is to give them feedback on their performance.

You tell them when they do things you do like and you tell them when they do things you don’t like.

It’s exactly the same with your manager.

Now I appreciate that we’re getting into scary territory here but you’re going to have to be brave and take some action.

There’s no point in going on about your manager needing to change, because that’s unlikely to happen – unless you do something about it.

The rules for giving your manager feedback are almost the same as those for your staff.

  1. Do it ASAP

When your manager says or does something you do or don’t like, you need to say something right away.

If it’s something you do like, it’s not much use saying something weeks later – ‘Thanks for helping me with that difficult customer last week Dave.

Dave is going to have a bit of a problem remembering that situation and the effect of the feedback is totally wasted.

It also makes sense to tell Dave about something you don’t like as soon as possible.

  1. Do it in private

You really don’t want members of your team or your colleagues hearing what you say to your manager be it good or bad.

  1. Check that it’s okay to speak

Make sure that you have your manager’s full attention. There’s no point in saying what you have to say if they have something else on their mind, or they’re working on their computer. It’s also good manners and shows respect.

  1. Announce your intentions

If your manager is not used to receiving feedback from you, what do you think runs through their mind when you pull up a chair or ring them on the phone – they think it’s bad news!

They think you’re about to complain about something, or you’ve done something wrong, or there’s a problem.

It’s important to tell them up front what you want to speak about.

You might say – ‘Laura, I’d just like to thank you for something you did today.’

Or if it’s something you don’t like you might say – ‘Laura, I’d just like to talk about something you said today that I’m uncomfortable about.’

  1. Tell them how YOU feel about their behaviour

This is nothing to do with anyone else. Don’t say things like – ‘The team don’t like the way you speak to us.’

Use lots of ‘I’ messages; say things like – ‘I’m unhappy with the way you told me how to do that job today. It made me felt embarrassed in front of my team members. Would you be prepared to speak to me in private in future?’

  1. Focus on one thing at a time

Don’t confuse your manager with a whole list of behaviours. If it’s things that you do like then you’re in danger of coming across as patronising. If it’s things that you don’t like, then you may come across as a whinger.

  1. Be specific

When you’re giving your manager feedback it’s important to focus on job-related behaviour and not on the personality of the individual.

If you feel a bit uncomfortable, try to focus on the manager’s behaviour in terms of how they said or did something. That’s what you’re giving feedback on, not them as a person.

Avoid ‘You’ messages. It becomes easier if you’re using ‘I’ messages and being very descriptive about what you’ve seen or heard.

You could say something like – ‘I liked the way you showed me how to lay out that report – thank you, Jeff.’  Or – ‘Jeff, I’m concerned by the way you told me how to do that report. It’s important for me to get it right, would you be prepared to spend a bit more time explaining what you require?’

  1. Include the customer and the organisation

Whenever appropriate; relate what your feedback is about, to how the customer or the business could be affected. This, of course, could be an internal or an external customer.

  1. Get input

When giving constructive feedback, it’s important to get the manager’s input.

You might say – ‘I’m unhappy with the number of tasks you’ve asked me to do this week, and I’m concerned that I may not be able to do them in the best interests of the business. However I’m willing to listen to what you have to say, and discuss how we can make efficient use of my time.’

  1. Don’t leave them low

This is particularly important after giving feedback on something you’re not happy about. This isn’t an attack on the manager; it’s about job-related behaviour.

Think about how you feel when one of your team speaks to you about something they’re unhappy about. It can leave you low and possibly stressed.

Finally – be brave

There’s still a culture in some organisations that doesn’t allow the boss to be challenged. It’s a case of – ‘The boss tells me what to do, and it’s my job to do as I’m told.’

It’s also the case that some managers don’t want to say anything to their boss for fear of being perceived as negative or a whinger.

Be brave and give your boss some positive feedback.

The occasional compliment or descriptive thank you will work wonders for your relationship.

And if the boss is doing or saying something you don’t like, give him or her some constructive feedback using the guidelines above.

If you follow these guidelines, then you’re much more likely to motivate your manager, manage any difficult situations, and achieve more positive results.

Excerpt from Loyalty Magazine

“All in all this is a really useful book that should be passed around the call centre, the sales team and even the family. After that, you should put it in a safe place for when you are having a bad day, and you need 51je1l11k3l-_uy250_a few suggestions”.

 

How To Manage Difficult People Audio Summation

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New Seminar – How to Manage Difficult People

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How Do You React to Annoying Behavior?

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Recently, when I was at my home in the Philippines, I awoke one morning to find one of the dogs sleeping on the sofa. All curled up, nice and comfy having nice doggy dreams. (She’s the one on the left in the photo of Motivation 247792_3957018401534_256628686_n (640x480) (440x330)Doc jogging club.)

So whispered in her ear – ‘Please wake up and get off the sofa CAS.’

And if you believe that, you’re as daft as me!

However, when placed in a situation of annoyance, shall we say; do you:

  1. Think or do you react?
  2. Allow other people (or dogs) to decide your behavior?

You probably answered ‘Think’ and ‘No’ to these questions, but do you ever catch yourself saying:

‘She makes me really mad!’

‘His behavior really annoys me!’

‘How dare she speak to me like that!’

‘If he thinks I’m just going to do what he wants!’

Is it possible, that in making any of these statements, that:

1, you’re reacting and 2, allowing other people to decide your behavior?

Does the other person make you mad, or do you decide to get mad?

Do you react to what a customer, or a colleague or your boss, does or says to you, or do you think before you take action?

You’re the boss

Before you achieve anything in your life, you need to take charge of your thinking. When you take charge of your thinking, you take charge of your life.

Thinking is all about communicating with yourself; it’s all the little things you say to yourself while you’re awake.

(Just don’t say them out loud or the men with the white coats will take you away!)

That’s a lot of thinking

I read somewhere that the average human has 12,367 thoughts every day. Now, don’t ask me how they worked that one out, but let’s just accept that we do a lot of thinking and communicating with ourselves. The thing is that, 70 percent of these thoughts or internal communications are negative and encourage negative behaviour.

How you think, your relationship with yourself is what decides how well you communicate with your customers, your colleagues, your team members, your boss, and the dog.

The most important relationship you’ll ever have is the one you have with yourself, so you’ve got to get that right.

Henry Ford said, (he was the guy who started all the traffic chaos) – ‘Thinking is the hardest work there is, that’s why so few people do it.’

Always on time

I’ve always had a thing about good timekeeping; it’s something that’s been programmed into my brain. If you agree to meet me at 8.30 in the morning, I‘ll be there at 8.20; I will always do my utmost be on time.

So I used to get annoyed when a member of my team would show up late for a meeting or an appointment with me.

When I got annoyed I’d get stressed, I would react, and end up saying something that I regretted later. So I learned to start thinking about the situation and try to see it from their point of view. I decided not to react or let my programming run my brain.

That doesn’t mean to say I ignored the lateness or did nothing about it; I thought very carefully about what I wanted to say, and spoke to the team member about how we would resolve this situation.

Don’t get stressed

The point is this – I’m not prepared to allow that team member’s behavior to run my mind.

Getting annoyed and stressed is not good for your health and it isn’t a productive way to motivate your staff, deal with your customers or handle your mother-in-law.

You have to decide who runs your mind; is it you or is it someone else?

So – think about that!

Woof!

 

3 Reasons Complaints Are Good for Business

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Don’t you just hate it if you hear complaints about your business? Well, you shouldn’t.angry businessman

Here are 3 reasons why complaints can be a positive thing for your business.

  1. They point out areas that need improvement
  2. It gives you another chance to provide good service and satisfy the customer
  3. It is a wonderful opportunity to build your relationship with your customer. If you recover well, the customer is likely to forgive you and come back again. They are also more likely to say positive things about your business to other people.

75% of customers will buy from you again if you resolve their complaints to their satisfaction.

Sadly, a typical business will hear from only 4% of its dissatisfied customers.

Make your business easy to complain to – it’s good for you!

For regular Booster Shots From The Doc51je1l11k3l-_uy250_

How to Live Longer

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I have found the answer to eternal life. Well maybe not eternal, but you could certainly live longer.Dog Tired of Phone Calls

But first let me ask you; don’t you just hate it when people say ‘What’s wrong with you today, you don’t look very happy?’

Maybe you don’t feel like smiling on that particular day, for no particular reason. Or maybe you feel like punching them in the nose.

However, a report in American Psychologist states that:

Smiling and being agreeable influences the length of people’s lives in a positive way – Wow!

On the other hand, being grumpy increases the likelihood of a violent death, heart disease, cancer etc – oh dear!

And punching someone on the nose may result in a violent death!

If DC says it; it must be true

Dale Carnegie in his book – How to Win Friends and Influence People, says: ‘People who smile tend to manage, teach and sell more effectively, they also raise happier children.’

Are your teeth okay?

Another survey found that 75% of respondents thought that an unattractive smile would be bad for their career. While a whopping 92% said an attractive smile was a necessary social asset.

Watch out for the scary people

These sorts of reports have been around for years, but many of the people that I come into contact with don’t seem to have received the message.

I’ve attended business networking meetings where many non smiley people look downright scary. And they wonder why they don’t gain any benefit from their networking!

Many of the people at my local health club look downright unhappy. You’d think they were there as some form of penance rather than as part of their fun and leisure time.

Are you sure your teeth are okay?

Of course many people don’t smile because they’re nervous; they lack confidence or have low self-esteem. Some people on the other hand actually believe they’re smiling when the face they present to the world could actually turn milk sour.

Have a look at your face from your side

I’m not suggesting that we all go around with big smiles on our face grinning inanely at people we hardly know. If you did that, then the men in white coats would soon be dragging you off to a place of detention. However, I am suggesting that we think about the face we present to other people.

By sporting a warm smile at the appropriate time we can only smooth the path for the people we’re dealing with. We also boost our own confidence and it allows us to relax and make the most of a situation.

Here come the technical bit

Smiling stimulates the release of endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, which has an ongoing positive effect. It’s a two way neurological process; when you smile you literally become happier, and when you’re happier, you smile more. If someone gives you an unsolicited smile, you smile back and in this way we directly affect each other’s moods.

Switching on a smile will only bring benefits – you’ll be happier and everyone else will be happier – so keep smiling!

And in the words of W.C. Fields:

‘Start each day with a smile and get it over with’.

(That was just to make you smile!)

And let me make you smile more often – put your email address in that box on the top right. Don’t worry, I won’t give it to anyone else.

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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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