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The 10 Most Unwanted List Ten specific behaviors that represent people at their worst! Surviving through Skillful Communication 4. Great Moments in Difficult People History Friendly Fire Special Situation: Find the answer in this exchange of letters. What If You Are the Tank? What If You Are the Sniper? What If You Are the Grenade? What If You Are the Whiner? Communication in a Digital Age Use Your Body for Tone Control 3. Their standard is perfection, and no one and nothing measures up to it. But misery loves company, so they bring their problems to you.

Offering solutions makes you bad company, so their whining escalates. This is the individual that has a vague idea that things should be different than they are but has no idea or suggestions for how to change things. By whining about the circumstances he feels that he is helping get the task done right by pointing out all of the wrongs.

Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst

Redirecting is when you use rapport to change the direction of the interaction towards more common ground. By using both of these communication skills when dealing with difficult people you avoid conflict and create a cooperative atmosphere. Then keep all communication with this individual brief and to the point in order to model his hurried behavior. Finally, in order to redirect the interaction from hurried and sloppy to quick and correct interject facts and details into your communications that prove that you can also get the task right as you move quickly to get it done.

Then, I believe we should set a deadline of 5 pm to look over the report. How did the party go? By first blending with your difficult person by acknowledging their feelings and main intent and then redirecting the situation by tying their main intent in with the actual task at hand you will quickly increase cooperation, decrease misunderstanding, and increase productivity. In some cases you will need to tailor your specific behavior to the actual behavior the individuals are exhibiting at the time. To do this well you need a detailed action plan for dealing with each individual personality trait specifically.

Remember that The Tank personality — full of verbal attacks and aggressive behavior — is solely motivated by a desire to get things done. If a tank feels that you are sliding off course or obstructing the team from finishing a task he will attempt to assert his control over you through aggression. Use the following action plan to diffuse the situation and deal with the tank. Instead of running away or letting loose with your own temper simply hold your ground maintain eye contact, control your breathing, stay calm and silent until the tank is done yelling.

This will show the tank that you cannot be intimidated while allowing him to get what is bothering him off of his chest. When you do not back down in his presence or fight back with anger you will gain his respect. If the attack continues despite your silence it may be time to interrupt the attack. While the tank is yelling speak their name evenly over and over until you have their attention. By doing so calmly but determinately you will show assertiveness without making the tank feel personally attacked.

Quickly backtrack the main point.

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Doing this will let the tank know that you heard his main point. Aim for the bottom line and fire. State your side of things and your willingness to cooperate.


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  • By continuing my course I will definitely have the project completed by the deadline. After stating your point of view allow the tank to have the last word. He may see that you are indeed on track and want to back down from his verbal assault but if he feels challenged he will continue. Let him close the conversation and leave with honor. The action plan for dealing The Sniper revolves around defusing his behavior. A sniper will try to make you look incompetent to eliminate the obstacle he perceives that you represent.

    The more you let his comments bother you, the more vulnerable you are. The quickest way to diffuse an uncomfortable situation caused by the sniper is to calmly acknowledge the action in a way that shows that you are unaffected by it. For example, if the sniper rolls his eyes during your presentation, stop, make eye contact with the sniper, roll your own eyes, and then move on as if nothing has happened.

    After your presentation, stop the sniper and ask for a reason behind his gesture. Use tank strategy if needed. If the sniper gets defensive and starts attacking you — listing all of the reasons you are the problem — then stay calm and listen. He is actually giving you what you want — a description of why he is unhappy with you or your actions.

    Go on a grievance patrol. If, instead, the sniper ignores your searchlight question and dismisses you with more sarcasm, you may need to dig deeper to find his grievance against you. Try to catch the sniper alone or schedule a private meeting where you can discuss his problems with you and devise a solution. Suggest a civil future. Once you know why the sniper attacks, suggest a better way to handle the problem.

    Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst

    However, if you could come talk to me privately next time, I promise to hear you out and work towards a compromise that helps ease your concerns. When dealing with A Know-It-All you need an action plan that shows you know your stuff. If the know-it-all senses any inaccuracies in your thinking they will immediately discount your entire idea. The know-it-all needs to know that you understand their plan. Repeat their ideas to show you get it before broaching your own suggestions. Blend with their doubts and desires. Seek out their criteria for what makes an idea doable and stress the ways that your suggestion takes those factors into account.

    Present your views indirectly. Turn them into mentors. Once you have a connection established it will be easier to get the know-it-all to consider your suggestions. In this case your action plan is to give them attention but then to redirect their focus onto solutions that actually work. Give them a little attention.

    Dealing with People You Can’t Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst [Book]

    No matter how ridiculous or unfounded their suggestion, find something that you can recognize the individual for. You do not have to agree with the idea, just thank the individual for contributing. Once you have given them the attention they need, ask them to clarify the specifics of their plan. This will help you indirectly point out the areas of the idea that will not work and let them see for themselves the problems with their solutions.

    Tell it like it is. Use printed facts, articles, or supporting documents whenever possible to add evidence to your information and reduce defensiveness. Give them a break.

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    Help them save face by giving them a way out. When we add in these facts I am sure we will see this the same way. In your future dealings with this individual look for things that they do right and pile on the recognition. Once their good behavior is adequately rewarded their bad behavior will subside. Diffuse the grenade with this action plan.

    Dealing with A Yes Person can be difficult because it is easy to let them handle the work load but you need assurances that they will actually get the task done. The following action plan will help your yes person complete commitments without overloading themselves. The action plan for dealing with A Maybe Person is very similar to that of dealing with the yes personality.

    However, with this individual your focus is more on forcing them to actually make a commitment or decision, not so much on the actual follow-through. The goal for the action plan of dealing with A Nothing Person is getting them say something. You need their information, their feedback, or their opinions to get a task done so you need to interact with them.

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    The action plan for dealing with A No Person involves moving their attitude from fault finding to problem solving. When dealing with A Whiner you need an action plan that takes the person from complainer to problem solver. Focusing on the task at hand can be tough in the presence of difficult people, especially if you meet their worst behavior with bad behavior of your own.

    This is a good review. However, it misses out one vital element; the different DISC-related personality types that explain the different painful people. Personality typing could limit and box one in with preconceived responses. Human behavior is dynamic and influenced by many factors as discussed in the book. Your email address will not be published.

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    Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst In order to excel in business you must be able to work effectively with the people around you. Speak loudly and state their name but keep your tone friendly. Aim for the heart. Show that you care.

    Repeat their concerns, concentrating on the actual problem and not on the multiple generalizations that they usually resort to when exploding. If you show real concern the grenade will be taken aback and actually calm down for a moment to hear the rest of what you have to say. Time off for good behavior. Now that the grenade is a little more clam, suggest a break to give both of your emotions time to settle before you begin discussing the problem again.