Do you have difficult people in your life whose excessive demands on your attention deplete your energy?Some people are constantly jumping up and down trying to grab the spotlight or they are busy stirring things up in order to create conflict in the workplace.
It's hard to be objective when you are angry, so it's important to understand how you respond to difficult people in your life. I was recently a motivational speaker for a Parks and Recreation conference where I delivered the motivational speech, I Love My Job, it's the People I can't Stand!
The audience had a lively and interactive discussion where we brainstormed the following list of ways to manage conflict with difficult people:
- Immediately plot revenge or strategize their attack
- Compare their behavior with others to see whose right
- Avoid difficult people at all costs or pretend they don't bother them
- Assume difficult people are out to get them and make up stories to support this hypothesis
- Spread gossip or put others down in an attempt to garner support
- Use manipulation or any influence they have to cut off the difficult persons resources
All of these methods tend to dig a bigger hole when it comes to conflict. Rooted in all communication we need tools to assertively deal with difficult people.
During my motivational speech we agreed that it's better to seek solutions and see people for their potential rather than regarding them as a problem. Making an effort to build communication and build cooperation at every step will eventually improve the relationship.
Some of the methods discussed to foster cooperation and boost morale with difficult people:
- Search for common ground in the midst of conflict
- Be kind and polite even when they are not
- Know that what is causing conflict may have nothing to do with you
- Assume people are friendly and reasonable
- Try to figure out why the person irritates you so much
- Communicate assertively about the behavior that bothers you and ask for change
- Search for the underlying cause of the conflict
The other motivational speaker for the Parks and Recreation conference taught the audience the value of patience!