Tips and Techniques to Manage Difficult People

Posts Tagged ‘Self-esteem’

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. Unit Chefs is an efficient tool used for calculations and most common conversions. (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.

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.




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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3 Tips on Handling Stress

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Do you think you’re suffering from stress? Well let me tell you now; you really don’t want to be. You might think there is Fotolia_1597792_Snothing you can do about it, but there is and you must!

Let me tell you why, or remind you if you’ve heard it before, because it’s so important.

Stress can cause:

  • Heart disease
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sexual problems
  • Overeating
  • Drinking too much
  • Loss of concentration
  • Stomach upsets.

Research has been telling us for some time that many, if not most of our illnesses can be related to stress.

When you get stressed, one of the chemicals that are released into your bloodstream is called Cortisol; sometimes known as the Stress Hormone. High levels of Cortisol can lead to diabetes and skin problems.  There is also a suggestion that Cortisol attacks your immune system and leaves you vulnerable to many of the bugs and viruses that come along. This also includes cancer.

So if you’ve ever suffered from skin complaints or perhaps too many colds, it could very well be the results of stress.

I don’t want to scare you death or give you any more stress, I just want you to – think.

Here are 3 tips:

1. You can change the way you interpret and react to the situation.

The way you see the situation is based on your values, your beliefs, your culture, and how you were brought up.

You tend to believe that the way you see the situation is the correct and proper way, and that you are right.

The way the other person sees the situation is based on their values, beliefs, culture, and how they were brought up. And of course, they believe that they are right.

If these values and beliefs are similar and in line with your values and beliefs, then you will have a good situation.

However, if their values and beliefs are different from yours, then you may have a difficult situation that gives you stress.

Other people do not necessarily see the world as you see it – they see it differently.

If you react to the situation and are hooked by the other person’s behaviour; then you are in danger of being stressed.

It is important not to react to the situation, and accept their point of view. This is not about agreeing; it’s about thinking and understanding the other person’s viewpoint.

2. You can change the situation or other people. You communicate and be assertive.

Assertive communication can make all the difference to your personal success and your ability to minimise stress. It’s more that just learning to talk in a different way. It’s about:

Thinking positively- Feeling confident – Behaving Assertively

To develop your assertive communication you don’t have to change your personality – only your behaviour and thoughts.

In assertiveness training we talk about submissive, aggressive and assertive behaviour. Submissive and aggressive behaviour relates to your inbuilt fight or flight programmes that rescue you from problem situations.

Assertive behaviour will help you communicate clearly and confidently your needs wants and feelings to other people without abusing in any way their human rights.

This is a positive response in any situation that is potentially stressful for you. It makes it clear to the other person what you are unhappy about, and what you are not prepared to accept. It allows you to state your case calmly and clearly.

3. You can walk away from the situation and/or the relationship

You may not be able to change some stressful situations. It could be your work situation, your relationships or your family life. It is not always easy to walk away however you have to consider yourself, your health and welfare.

Points 1 and 2 are much more preferable actions to take, however ask your self the following:

  • Do you lie awake at night worrying about tomorrow?
  • Do you feel impatient or irritable?
  • Is your life full of crises – are you always having rows with other people?
  • Do you have difficulty concentrating?
  • Do you often suffer from butterflies in the stomach, sweaty palms, a dry throat or a thumping heart?
  • Are you tense – is your neck knotted-up?

I read a lot about stress some years ago and made a personal decision to decrease my levels of the bad stuff. When situations occur that are potentially stressful, I go into thinking mode to resolve it. I don’t say – ‘Oh no!’ I say – ‘Deal with it!’

I want to live a long and healthy life and I’m not prepared to let stress affect that; I recommend you do the same.

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How to Say ‘No’ and Still Be Friends

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When someone asks you to do something, sometimes the answer is ‘No’. Of course, it’s how you say ‘No’ that matters.Office managers in a discussion over progress.

I’ve been in a couple of situations recently where I’ve been asked to do something I didn’t want to do.

One organisation sent me an email asking if I’d have a meeting with one of their consultants. They wanted to discuss how they could help me regarding my personal finances. As you’ll gather – they wanted to sell me something. And it was definitely not something I wanted to buy at that particular time.

If you’re like me, your first thought is to come up with some kind of excuse; probably a lie.

But I don’t really want to do that; why should I allow someone else to compel me to be a liar.

So I emailed back saying – ‘Thank you for your email, however this is not something I want to do. Best regards …..’

I received a very nice email by return letting me know that if I ever changed my mind, they would be happy to speak with me.

Another person asked me face to face if I would attend a presentation he was giving in a hotel at the weekend. I asked him what reason I would have for doing that. The answer was a bit ambiguous and I realized that he just wanted to sell me something.

Again it’s easy to make excuses; tell lies. But I said – ‘Thank you for your invitation. It is not in my interest to do that. I wish you well with your presentation.’

Of course a salesperson will come back at you with – ‘Why do you say that’ type of questions. But you just need to stick to your original words and not get drawn into a conversation.

I sometimes answer with something like – ‘I’m unable to do that for personal reasons.’ It’s a brave salesperson that would ask what those personal reasons are.

It can be difficult to say ‘no’ sometimes. Most of us have a natural impulse to please other people.

If people make requests of you that you’re not happy with or have doubts about, you could say something like:

  • ‘Let me think about this’
  • ‘I need some time to think about this’
  • ‘Can I contact you later on this?’

Of course you do have to contact them later, and without making excuses, turn down their request.

When you say ‘no’ to someone, avoid giving too many reasons and getting sidetracked. The other person may ask why you’re saying ‘no’ or try to persuade you. However, you do not have to give some long explanation. If you do, you risk being involved in a lengthy conversation while they continue to try and persuade you.

You could say something like:

  • ‘No, I don’t want to do that’
  • ‘No, I’d prefer not to do that’
  • ‘I can understand your situation, however I don’t want to do that’

There is no need to be unpleasant; you’re merely stating what you want in an assertive way.

Remember – it’s not the other person you are rejecting; it’s what they want you to do.

Let me know what you think, and please don’t say – ‘No!’

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Do Something Different – Get out of your comfort zone

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Think about what you’re doing each day and ask yourself:Comfort zone

‘Is what I’m doing now getting me to where I want to get to?’

If the answer is ‘No’ then do something different. Get out of your comfort zone and change your habits.

An instructor was watching me use a piece of equipment in the gym the other day. ‘Let me show you a different way to do it’ says he. As you’ll guess, the different way was a lot harder, somewhat more painful, however a lot more likely to produce results.

The human body will always find an easy way to do things and so does our brain; however as we all know – no pain – no gain. So if you want something different to happen – do something different.

The psychologist Abraham Maslow said:

‘If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being; then I warn you that you will be unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capabilities, your own possibilities.’

It’s up to you – let me know what you think.

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Dump Your Negative Self-Belief

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If you have negative beliefs about yourself, here’s a way to change them.YES...we can!

Your subconscious will always attempt to move away from pain and towards pleasure.

So start to associate massive pain to your negative belief.

Think about how it will hold you back and stop you achieving what you’re trying to achieve. Think about how miserable you’ll feel if you don’t even try.

Old people rarely regret what they’ve done in their life but they do regret what they haven’t done.

So think forward to when you’re 75 or 80 years of age and imagine how you’ll feel if you’ve never tried.

Then start to think of the pleasure you’ll receive in fulfilling your beliefs. Think about how good you’ll feel when you achieve what you set out to do.

If when you’re older you look back and think about things you didn’t achieve, at least you’ll be able to say – ‘I tried, I gave it my best shot and I didn’t sit on the sidelines.’


Customer Service Tip When Something Goes Wrong

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Don’t you just hate it when things go wrong? You have an angry customer to deal with who’s been let down by some angry businessmanaspect of your product or service. It may even be an internal customer, a colleague or even one of your team who’s unhappy with your service to them.

Don’t panic! This is a fantastic opportunity to show just how good your customer service really is.

The secret

One of the secrets of extraordinary customer service is “Recovery”. If you recover well from a difficult situation, then customers, internal and external, are very likely to forgive your mistake and even praise the quality of your service.

When things go wrong, customers want you to solve their problems quickly. They don’t want to hear excuses, who’s to blame or why it happened; they just want it fixed fast.

Something free

Say, for example you have a restaurant and you served a meal that wasn’t cooked properly or wasn’t hot enough. You would need to apologize  assure the customer it will be fixed and then do it quickly. Then tell the customer that they won’t be charged for the main course or give them some wine or a free dessert. Then, when that customer talks about your restaurant, they’ll tell people – ‘There was a small problem initially but when I pointed it out, they really moved themselves, and they couldn’t have been more apologetic.’

Make them feel good

So don’t be afraid when something does go wrong; you can ‘recover’ from this situation and make a really positive impression on your customer.

Overall, customers just want to feel good. They want to feel better after they’ve dealt with you or anyone in your business, than they did before. If you can create that feeling, then you’re well on the way to creating a successful business.

To listen to this article or download it to your MP3 player, please go here:

Customer Service Tip When Something Goes Wrong

Extract from, How to Manage Difficult PeopleHow-to-Manage-Difficult-People-196x300

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How to Build YOur Self-Belief

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No one is going to believe in you until you believe in yourself. Your belief in yourself is so very apparent by the way you talk, walk and conduct yourself.

Not many people are drawn to a person who is so overflowing with self-belief that it makes them impossible to deal with. However, you still need to constantly work on your self-belief.

  • Concentrate on what you do well, not what you don’t!
  • Concentrate on what you’ve done, not what you haven’t.
  • Concentrate on what you do, not what you don’t!


Some people are fortunate to have been brought up in an environment that develops their self-belief. Their parents and their upbringing encourage them to be as good as they can be.

I was listening to a colleague, talking on the phone to her six year old child the other day. He was telling her about his school sports day and how well he had done in the race he’d entered. I heard Penny say – ‘Well done, fantastic, that’s great, I’m really proud of you!’ It turns out that her little boy had come second in his race, and it made me think how some other parents might react. They might have said – ‘Too bad you didn’t win. That’s a pity. Never mind, better luck next time. Who was it who came first in the race?’

Which of these responses is going to develop a child’s belief in himself; obviously the first reaction? If Penny’s little boy receives that kind of response for being second; what does he think he will receive for being first?  The second response only reduces the child’s belief in himself.

Sadly, the majority of us do not receive regular boosts to our self belief. But that doesn’t mean we can’t change it.

What the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve – Napoleon Hill


Take a moment, find a piece of paper and write down all the things you have achieved in your life. Don’t trivialise anything, write it down. We often think that some of the things we’ve achieved are not such a big deal. I know people with a university degree who don’t think it’s that important. Well I don’t have one and I wish I did. But I don’t let it bother me; I just think about the fact that I’ve written three best selling books and I’m a successful international speaker.

Think about your superpowers; all the qualities you have; the things you are good at. How do you rate in:

  • Determination
  • Popularity
  • Dignity
  • Humour
  • Sex appeal
  • Calm disposition
  • Approachability
  • Generosity

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.

If you want to download the pod-cast;  just go here.

Extract from:


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