Presentation on theme: "Dealing with Difficult People Practical Strategies for Minimizing Their Disruptive Influence On Your Life A Presentation for Fairfield Medical Center Kendall."— Presentation transcript:
Dealing with Difficult People Practical Strategies for Minimizing Their Disruptive Influence On Your Life A Presentation for Fairfield Medical Center Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. May 14, 2004
What’s the point? These people are everywhere; you cannot avoid them entirely. Unfortunately, they often hold positions of power. Give them the chance, and they will make you miserable. You can’t change them, but you can change the way you react to them. Changing how you react to these people will improve the quality of your life. After this presentation, you will be able to –Identify three common behaviors difficult people exhibit, –Describe three feelings these behaviors often elicit in others, –Specify three behaviors these feelings typically elicit, and –Discuss three practical ways for minimizing the disruptive impact these people have on your life.
What are some of the typical behaviors that difficult people exhibit? They are insensitive and demanding. They are aggressive and hostile. They are vulgar and insulting. They are hateful, arrogant and demeaning. They are rude and uncivilized. They are unresponsive and irresponsible. They are dishonest and conniving. They are uncooperative. They are sensitive, suspicious and intent on blaming someone else. They are stupid and ignorant and blissfully unaware of it.
Confronted with such behavior, how do we sometimes feel? Angry Resentful Helpless Hopeless Worthless Frightened Intimidated Annoyed Revengeful Overwhelmed Hostile Inferior Threatened Hurt Insulted Frustrated Used Hateful Etc.
How might these feelings incline us to behave? Withdraw Nag Argue Give up Explain Talk behind others’ backs Ruminate Gossip Try harder to please Plot revenge And so on
What are some effective behavioral strategies for dealing with difficult people? Label them.* Neutralize them.* Understand them. Accept them. Inform them. Involve them. Ignore them. Convert them. Avoid them. Expose them. Circumvent them. Use them. Persuade them. Confront them.* Rehabilitate them. Discourage them. Ridicule them. Isolate them. Punish them. Fire them.
Label them. Why should I? –Acknowledges they are different –Recognizes their need to be “managed,” not befriended –Initiates the management process –Minimizes your unrealistic expectations –Reminds you to become emotionally detached –Signals need to reach for suitable tools –Legitimizes others’ perceptions –Forces you to take personal responsibility How can I? –Remain sensitive to your own emotional arousal. –Recognize the need to choke off your emotional arousal. –Imagine a sticky note labeled, “A Real Nut” attached to their foreheads. –View them as impaired (they are). –Pity them. –Concentrate on observing their behavior. –Reflect on why someone might behave so unproductively—as a distraction, not as their therapist.
Neutralize them. Why should I? –Removes incendiary behavior from an emotionally flammable environment –Minimizes their desired response—fear and withdrawal –Starves their fire –Limits emotional contagion –Protects more vulnerable personalities –Minimizes workplace disruption –Takes initiative away from social miscreant How can I? –Take notes. –Avoid eye contact. –Act sleepy and bored. –Comment on their emotional arousal. –Ask them why they are repeating themselves. –Ask them what constructive things they have tried. –Ask them what they want you to do. –Warn them, then hang up the phone.
Confront them. Why should I? –Challenges others’ tolerance –Worries those who collude with misbehavers –Disrupts usual response patterns –Signals who’s in charge –Provides relief from feelings of helplessness –Gives prior victims hope –Reaffirms your commitment to organization’s stated values –Encourages others to take the same vigorous action How can I? –Document their behavior. –Ignore suspected motives, but record behavior in descriptive detail. –Focus on patterns instead of isolated occurrences. –Line up witnesses. –Give emotions time to dissipate. –Nail down the support you need. –Confront in love and respect. –Refuse to be distracted. –Attach consequences and describe next steps. –Deliver on your promises.
What can we conclude? There are a lot of difficult people in the world. They will make you miserable if you let them. You can’t change them, but you can change the way you react to them. Your instinctive reactions to these obnoxious people may not be the best approach. There are a variety of approaches that will work better, but you will need to practice them if you want to use them successfully.
Where can we learn more? Stewart, Kendall L., et. al. A Portable Mentor for Organizational Leaders, SOMCPress, 2003 Stewart, Kendall L., “Physician Traps: Some Practical Ways to Avoid Becoming a Miserable Doctor” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, July 24, 2002 Stewart, Kendall L. et. al, “On Being Successful at SOMC: Some Practical Guidelines for New Physicians” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, January 2001 Stewart, Kendall L., “Bigwigs Behaving Badly: Understanding and Coping with Notable Misbehavior” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, March 11, 2002 (For a limited time, this White Paper can be downloaded from http://www.somc.org/NRSOMCPress/WhitePapers.htm.) http://www.somc.org/NRSOMCPress/WhitePapers.htm Stewart, Kendall L., “Relationships: Building and Sustaining the Interpersonal Foundations of Organizational Success” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, March 11, 2002
How can we contact you? Kendall L. Stewart, M.D. Medical Director Southern Ohio Medical Center President & CEO The SOMC Medical Care Foundation, Inc. 1805 27th Street Portsmouth, Ohio 45662 740.356.8153 firstname.lastname@example.org Webmaster@KendallLStewartMD.com www.somc.org www.KendallLStewartMD.com
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