I was hired to lead a conflict management workshop in Pennsylvania last week. Once I arrived on location, I immediately realized that the leader who hired me was the key source of conflict.
Being too busy to bother, she brushed off several of my requests and pointedly suggested that she would not be attending the conflict management workshop. What? I explained to the brisk woman that as a leader to suggest that others participate in this motivational talk but opt out yourself would weaken its impact. She rolled her eyes and relented.
Before my motivational talk she suggested that she wished employees would "just do their jobs and stop whining." It was becoming clearer and clearer to me that difficult people come in all areas. No wonder her people walked around with a black cloud hanging over them, since their dour attitude started with vacant, disappointed leadership.
She is the root cause of a lot of conflict and she is refusing to change.
This event was set up as an opportunity to attend a motivational talk but it wasn't an opportunity, it was mandatory. Her staff was being forced to go and they knew it.
At the end of the conflict management workshop, I asked the woman in denial if she thought she could be a part of the problem. She replied, 'Of course not. If only people would just be as hard working and diligent as I am we wouldn't have a problem.'
During the workshop we learned some key phrases to help put difficult people in their place, which I am sure the staff will knock her over the head with. She won't know what hit her and will wish she attended the motivational talk!