Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Courage’

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

Difficult people (227x346)

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2 Tips to be Lean and Mean in 2016

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Let me tell you a quick story. When I left school and started looking for a job as an apprentice engineer. I was repeatedly told, ‘It’s a bad time to find a job.’

3d white human running alone in white background

It was, and it took time and effort.

When I decided to leave engineering and find a job in sales; I was repeatedly told, ‘It’s a bad time to find a job in sales.’

It was, and it took time and effort.

When I decided to give up my job and start my own business in 1993; I was told by lots of well-meaning people, ‘It’s a bad time to start a new business.’

It was, and it took lots of time and effort.

I don’t know about your job or your business, but when has it ever been a good time to find a job, or get promoted, or start a business, or find new customers, or sell more of your product or service?

If you want to look back, this time, next year on a successful 2016, then you need to be lean and mean

  1. Lean and Mean with your brain

Imagine that in 2016 you are rejected for a bank loan, or you’re turned down for promotion. Perhaps a potential customer rejects a proposal you’ve been working on.

Maybe a publishing company rejects the book that you’ve slaved over for the past couple of years.

If you react with:

  • ‘Oh no, not again!’
  • ‘I’m really fed up with this.’
  • ‘These people are a real pain.’
  • ‘They’re making a big mistake.’
  • ‘What am I going to do now?’

This sort of reaction drains your brain of energy; it adds to your stress levels and destroys your self-motivation.

You need to get lean and mean with your brain.

Engage the thinking part of your brain, not the reacting part.

Tell yourself:

  • ‘I’ll make an appointment today with a better bank!’
  • ‘I’ll show my employer how good I really am or I’ll find a new job!’
  • ‘I’ll phone the next potential customer on my list right now!’
  • ‘The next publishing company will see how good my book really is!’

Pay the fine

There are also many minor situations that happen every day that’ll drain the energy from your brain.

Let’s say you receive a parking ticket. Pay the fine right away; get rid of it, forget it and move on.

Moaning and complaining about it drains your brain and the fine still has to be paid.

Do not, and I repeat, do not say – ‘Oh no, what am I going to do now!?’

Every time you say, ‘Oh no’ your brain has a huge drain of energy.

Talk to yourself

Build up your brain energy by using lots positive self-talk.

Listen to the self-talk that goes on in your head and ask yourself:

‘Is what I’m saying allowing me to be confident, on top and going for it?’

If so – great!

‘Or is it holding me back and stopping me achieve my goals?’

If this is the case – stop it, change the program!

Think about the things you say to yourself and make every statement in the present tense.

Don’t say:

  • ‘I’m going to make a success of this business’
  • ‘I’m going to get organised,’
  • ‘I’m going to lose weight and get fitter’
  • ‘I’m going to be much more confident.’

Say:

  • ‘I am totally in control of my life.’
  • ‘I am totally confident and positive.’
  • ‘I’m achieving my goals.’
  • ‘I have determination and drive.’

What you’re actually doing here is re-programming your subconscious.

If you talk to yourself in a positive way, that’s what your subconscious will focus on and you’ll be lean and mean.

  1. Lean and Mean with the body

The body and the brain are linked together so when the brain drains of energy so does the body. However, the body also does a lot of running about, up and down off the seat, and often takes a bit of a beating.

For it to work well, it needs to be in good condition in the first place.

We all know by now that if we eat too much or eat the wrong things, smoke too much or drink too much alcohol, then our body is in danger of breaking down.

Oh no, not exercise! 

If you want to be lean and mean, then you’re going to have to do some exercise. (Do I hear you saying – ‘I need the body energy before I can do the exercise!?’)

You know as well as I, that if you take more exercise, you will have more energy.

Now I know you think you don’t have the time. You may also be the type that doesn’t want to go to the gym and lift heavy things, or leap about in an aerobics class.

However, I am totally convinced that you need to take some exercise that makes you sweat a little.

I’m sorry, but walking the dog or a round of golf doesn’t count, it isn’t the kind of exercise I’m talking about. Golf is great and it’s good for the stress, but it doesn’t make you sweat.

Maybe go for a swim; you’ll get a bit out of breath, and you won’t  sweat.

If you’re going to walk, then walk fast for a distance, enough to push up the heart rate and increase the breathing.

Have fun

Again, get your internal program right and start to think how you can make your exercise enjoyable.

I see some people at the health club making the whole business a real chore. They get on a bike or a rowing machine and try to kill themselves for twenty minutes.

If that’s your thing then fine, but please don’t make it a chore, plug into the sound system and catch up with what’s on TV.

If you’re really not into exercise then please make sure you have other activities outside of your workplace and make them fun. Too many people are going home and slumping in front of the TV – successful people don’t do that.

A laugh and a sweat a day – keeps the stress away!

Make no mistake about it; if you look after the Body and the Brain, you’ll have a lean and mean 2016

 

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”.

 

I’d Be Nervous if I Wasn’t Nervous

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When was the last time you did some public speaking?

Perhaps it was a presentation to a client, or maybe your boss, or at an interview, or even at an event in your personal life. Did you feel nervous?

It happens to meAlan Speaking

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for years, nervousness would no longer be an issue.

It doesn’t matter if it’s twelve people or twelve-hundred people. In fact, I’d probably prefer to speak to the twelve-hundred than the twelve.

It’s scary

Public speaking is still one of our greatest fears; it turns grown men and women into nervous wrecks. The mere thought of it turns our tongue to cotton wool, causes our internal plumbing to act up, and turns our knees to jelly.

However, “nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say, ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

It’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success as a speaker.

Who’d be an actor?

The great actress Sarah Bernhardt once asked a young actress whether or not she suffered from nerves before she appeared on stage. ‘Oh no, Madame,’ the young actress replied. ‘Well,’ Sarah Bernhardt said, ‘Don’t worry; it will come along – with talent.’

The technical part

Nervousness is vital, you need nerves. Nerves release a cocktail of chemicals into your bloodstream, one of which is adrenaline. This in turn releases glucose into the blood stream. This gives you more energy and your mind becomes sharper.

The thing is, not to overdose on these stress chemicals or you’ll start to shake like a jelly and overheat. You need to work off some of these chemicals.

Listen to the professionals

Murray Walker the ex-motor racing commentator used to run on the spot as fast as he could just before he went on air. You could try that or run up and down the stairs. Wave your arms about like a lunatic and get lots of oxygen into your system. Obviously it’s better to do this when no one is looking!!

Make friends

Speak to as many members of the audience as you can, before you stand up to speak. This tricks your brain into thinking you’re talking to lots of your friends.

Speak louder than you’d normally do, that helps the nerves as well. It also keeps the people in the front row awake and makes sure the people at the back get the message.

Have a glass of water handy for that dry mouth. Don’t be afraid to stop and have a drink, it makes you look really cool and professional.

However, one word of warning; do not drink alcohol. It might give you Dutch courage, but your audience will end up thinking you’re speaking Dutch!

If you’re into creative visualisation, then that’s also a great way to handle the nerves. Spend some time before the event visualising yourself being really successful. Whatever you do, have lots of positive self-talk with yourself.

Believe me; once you start to apply this, the butterflies in your stomach will all be flying in formation.

And, if you want to listen to this post:

If you want me to help you with your public speaking, give me a call or send me an email – go on, don’t be nervous!

+44 (0) 1383 306 391

+44 (0) 7506 578 306

alan@themotivationdoctor.com

 

 

One Reason You Get Nervous

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What makes you nervous?

There are many situations on our lives where nerves can be a problem and sometimes they get the better of us.

Where did he go?

I was at a wedding a few years back in the UK. And like most weddings, the best man was there in the church, doing his duty, beside the groom.

However, when we arrived at the reception – no best man! He’d gone AWOL, done a runner, back to Canada where he came from.

Luckily someone stood in for him, and I’m glad they didn’t ask me – I’d want to be paid!Fotolia_21705786_S-203x3001

Me also

It sometimes surprises people when I tell them I get slightly nervous before a speaking or training event. They seem to think that because I’ve been doing it for over twenty years, nervousness would no longer be an issue. You wanna bet?

“Nerves” is a normal human emotion and as I often say – ‘I’d be nervous if I wasn’t nervous!’

However, it’s how you handle the nerves that will determine your success in what ever it is you do.

One of the reasons you get nervous

One of the biggest fears for humans is the fear of rejection and we’ll do almost anything to avoid it. It stops people making speeches, contacting customers, asking for the order, or even asking someone out on a date.

Successful people feel the fear of rejection but they don’t allow it to paralyse them. They take action even although they feel uncomfortable. And of course, the more you do it the less uncomfortable you feel.

In the many challenges you face in life you won’t “win them all” but you must have the courage to try. I read somewhere that – ‘winners make mistakes but losers never do.’

That’s because winners have the courage to try and they know they’ll make mistakes; however that’s how they learn and move forward.

I make mistakes allllllll the time!

What do you think?

Get in touch – alan@themotivationdoctor.com

7 Things You Need to Know About Intelligence

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Now this post might be old news to you, but I am always intrigued by people who are described as “intelligent”.

When I was a kid, my parents used to talk about my brother as – ‘The brains of the family’.

That’s us in the picture on the Titanic just before it went down.

EPSON scanner image

Okay, so he did better than me at school and went on to college and obtained a degree in mixing cement, or something like that.

Yes, he’s a Quantity Surveyor with a string of letters after his name, he worked hard for it, and I’m not emotionally damaged, I don’t think!

So what’s this about “brains” and intelligence? What does it mean and why is it so valued.

I was really interested in the studies of Howard Gardener, a psychologist at Harvard University. Gardner’s Theory of multiple intelligences states that – ‘Not only do human beings have many different ways to learn and process information, but that these are independent of each other; leading to multiple intelligences as opposed to a general intelligence among correlated abilities.’ (I copied this bit from Wikipedia; I’m not intelligent enough to write this stuff!)

In 1999 Gardner listed seven intelligences:

Linguistic intelligence. This concerns language and how we use it. Writers, poets, lawyers and speakers are among those that Howard Gardner sees as having high linguistic intelligence. (This might just be me, after all I’ve written four books)

Logical-mathematical intelligence. This is associated with calculation and logical reasoning. This intelligence is most often associated with scientific and mathematical thinking. (Not me; I haven’t a clue, I need my fingers to count on)

Musical intelligence. To do with musical appreciation as well as performing and composing music. (Does being a Michael Jackson fan count?)

Bodily-kinaesthetic intelligence. Associated with physical skills like sport, dancing and other aspects of movement. (Yup; that’s me again. You should see me dancing)

Spatial intelligence. To do with art and design, as well as finding your way around (I’d like to claim a little bit of that)

Interpersonal intelligence. To do with interacting with people socially and sensitively. It’s concerned with the capacity to understand the intentions, motivations and desires of other people. Educators, salespeople, religious and political leaders and counsellors all need a well-developed interpersonal intelligence. (That’s me; loved by millions)

Intrapersonal intelligence. To do with understanding yourself, to appreciate your feelings, fears, motivations and abilities. (I don’t want to go there)

So the next time someone tells you about a so called intelligent person. A sk what they know about design, or the ability to deal with other people, or what musical instrument do they play, or can they fix that scary noise in your car engine?

Always remember that you have qualities and skills that other people do not have and you should be proud of these and believe in yourself.

When you look at this list, you may realise that you are much more intelligent than you think.

And to quote my friend Mr Degas:

There is no such thing as Intelligence; one has intelligence of this or that. One must have intelligence only for what one is doingEdgar Degas

Let me know what you think.

7 Steps To a Happy and Motivated Team

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Do you want a highly motivated team who are engaged and happy at work, and who make a positive contribution to business winners 1your business?

The question, I’m most often asked by managers, is – ‘How do I motivate my team?’ They want some instant fix, a magic bullet that improves team motivation overnight. But as we all know, life isn’t like that.

I understand and appreciate why this question is being asked, I was a manager for sixteen years, and I understand the challenges managers face every day with their people. The answer I give is – ‘You don’t motivate your team, you create the environment where they motivate themselves.’

Effective motivation is intrinsic, it has to come from within. There is no instant fix; it’s an ongoing day to day process of small actions that build a highly motivated team. It’s like pushing a heavy boulder, you need some initial effort to get the process going, but once you’ve done that, it takes a lot less effort to keep it moving.

7 Steps to success

1. Spend some quality time with each of your team.

Talk with them and find out how they’re doing on a personal level, and a business level. Give them feedback; tell them when they do something well and tell them when not so well.

2. Listen to what they have to say, and show that you’re listening.

Turn away from the computer, and switch off the phone. Keep good eye contact, use open body language, and make noises that indicate that you’re listening. Emphasise with their personal problems and provide solutions to business problems, wherever possible.

3. Coach them on the job, to do even better.

Remember that coaching is a two-way process with your team member; helping them to find solutions to job related or personal problems

4. Find ways to make their job more interesting.

Vary the jobs they do, give them some of your tasks, and give them more responsibility. Ask them to train or mentor another member of the team.

5. Show that you appreciate them, and have some fun.

Give the occasional reward for no particular reason. Some time off work, a personal thank you letter, cakes or sweets, flowers on a birthday or a bottle of wine. Suggest a team member takes their partner out for a meal and charge it to expenses.

6. Keep them informed.

Let them know what’s happening in the company; how the business is doing, provide relevant information on new products or services.

7. Trust and believe in them.

Show them what you need them to do, and let them get on with it. Take risks; don’t keep ‘supervising’. Set up parameters that allow them to make decisions. If they keep coming to you with questions, don’t provide an answer, ask them what they would do and support their response.

Your team members want to know that you care about them, that you’re interested in them from a personal, and business point of view. They want to believe that you trust them, and want them to succeed. If you can create that environment; then you will have a happy and motivated team!

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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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7 Reasons Why Some People Are Difficult

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When I’m running a seminar on How to Manage Difficult People, I often say to the group: ‘Please put up your hand if angry adultyou’re a difficult person who makes problems for other people.’

Guess what – not one person raises their hand? Now you’re probably thinking that nobody is going to admit to this, particularly in public. But I believe that no one, in any way, regards themselves as a difficult person.

It’s the other guy

I’ve asked this question many times, and out of the hundreds of people who’ve attended this seminar, no one puts their hand up. They will, however, go on to tell me about all the difficult customers they have to deal with, their manipulative boss, their problem staff, and the neighbours who won’t keep their children under control.

These figures don’t add up; we have hundreds of people who don’t believe they are difficult, telling me about hundreds of people who are.

It’s hard to find anyone who admits to being difficult. But it’s obvious that we’ve all, probably, been difficult to another person at sometime in our life.

However, research tells us that there are only two percent of the population who are genuinely difficult. So, what causes this difficulty?

  1. Stress. Some people get stressed for all sorts of reasons. Often it’s just their inability to deal with aspects of their job and their personal life. They tend to blame other people and circumstances, but most often they have the answers within themselves.
  2. Personal problems. It’s fair to say that people sometimes have problems that are out with their control. A death in the family, breakdown of a marriage or a relationship, problems with children, or they may feel unwell and have health issues.
  3. Not competent to do the job. It’s often the case, in the workplace, that people find difficulty in doing their job and in finding help. Although they may not admit to this, they might feel inadequate and express their frustration by complaining, being negative and difficult.
  4. Don’t know they’re being difficult. Some people are not conscious of how they’re perceived by others. They believe that their behaviour is quite normal, and are unable to understand why some people see it otherwise.
  5. They see the world differently. We all see the world differently from each other. But some people’s programming causes them to become annoyed when others don’t see it as they see it.
  6. Low self esteem. Some people’s lack of self-confidence and belief in themselves, often causes them to be angry at the world. They believe that other people are out to do them down and that everything is against them.
  7. Lack of Acknowledgement. It could be that they have a massive need for acknowledgement either physical or psychological. A human’s need for acknowledgement is so strong that they’ll sometimes behave badly to get that acknowledgement.

I’m sure you’re aware of children who behave badly in school just to get attention – well, adults do it too. That person in your team, who gives you all sorts of problems which are often difficult to understand, may just be seeking acknowledgement. Withdrawing or failing to provide acknowledgement will cause people to become difficult.

So there you have it; it’s worth bearing this in mind, when you next have to manage a difficult person.

This is an excerpt from my book How to Manage Difficult People.7018_155572617408_699287408_2759755_4580853_n

Available worldwide from Amazon and all good book retailers.

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Employ People Who Think

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Old style management doesn’t encourage employees to think.not sure

That was certainly the case when I started work back in the bad old days, however it’s still prevalent in many businesses today.

It’s evident in many of the organisations that I work with that there’s a culture of – ‘I’m the boss – I tell you what to do – you don’t question it.’

The successful manager doesn’t react that way; he or she employs people who think!

They pick people with a mind of their own who aren’t afraid to say what they think and feel.

You need people who question, who challenge you as a manager.

If you want the job done…

I remember sitting in on a second interview with John, a manager client of mine who was interviewing candidates for a sales job. One of the candidates was a guy called Phil. He was a very strong character, full of questions and suggestions on how the job should be done.

John turned to me when Phil left the room – ‘That guy’s good, I reckon he’d be a good salesman for us, but I don’t think I could handle him.’

John was a much quieter type of person than Phil and I knew he felt uncomfortable with his style.

So I asked John – ‘What do you want this new salesman to do?’

‘I want him to bring in new business’ said John.

‘Do you think he can do that?’ I asked.

‘Of course I do, I just think he’ll be difficult to handle.’

It all comes down to outcomes. As a manager, what are you trying to achieve? What does your organisation and your boss want from you?

Don’t be scared

Of course you must consider how you’re going to work with a new team member, but you sometimes need to get out of your comfort zone and take a risk.

John hired Phil and he brought in the new business that John needed. Phil was always a handful and a challenge for John but they learned to work together.

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