I am posting this small tid-bit here because I am tired of saying the same thing again and again to various people….apologies to all my regular readers who are unexpectedly faced with a self-help sorta post!
I must also admit that I sat on this post for a long time wondering whether I should hit Publish or not; something about it made me feel uncomfortable about posting. But then I decided, what the hell; publish and be damned (any guesses where I got this last phrase from? :))
During my not-so long and not-so illustrious career, I have faced the pleasures and the pitfalls of working with a few people who are generally considered “difficult” to deal with.
Sometimes, I get asked “how come you didn’t lose your cool?” or “how did you manage with so and so for all these years” and I never really had a clear-cut answer to give them…
I thought about it for some time, and here is a list of things that I did that I think helped me handle messy situations:
- Didn’t take things personally. Difficult people have difficulty dealing with feelings, and situations. At first, I used to get angry. But, then I realized that a lot of times that it was just a fear of loss of control that they were struggling to deal with.
- Picked my battles carefully. Before I reacted to a nasty or negative comment, I would ask myself whether this issue was really worth the unpleasantness? Most often, it was not.
- Looked for something good in the other person. Yes, someone can be nasty, bossy, and inconsiderate but they can also be smart, and willing to share information. I tried to focus on their good points to ensure that I was less negatively biased against them.
- Listened to the message, and not the way it was delivered. I would often find that if someone was speaking pleasantly, I would go out of my way to accommodate his/her requests. However, when a difficult person demanded something from me in a very aggressive way, I would stiffen up and just not feel like accommodating. I guess that’s natural and everyone is like that to a certain extent.
However, I deliberately changed this attitude of mine, and tried to ignore the way something was communicated to me, and focus on what was actually said. This way, I avoided getting negative that affected my work badly.
- Semi-detached myself. If nothing worked and I had brought down a storm of rage upon my head, I would tell myself that no one has the power to take away my smile. When a difficult person was in a mood the best thing for me to do was semi-detach myself so that I don’t get sucked into their negativity. At times though, it was really hard for me to do.
- Worked extra hard. This was a no-brainer. I used to work doubly hard just so that I would not get put on the defensive early on itself.
So, you see it is not too difficult after all 🙂
And I must add that I learnt so many extremely valuable skills that benefits me even now – dealing tactfully with people, taking initiative, quality consciousness, and a desire to understand where the other person is coming from…
I can only say that in some ways, I am very thankful to these so-called “difficult” people whom I have met 🙂
Happy Diwali to you all!