30 Minutes to Deal with Difficult People (30 Minutes) by Cary L. Cooper, Suzan Lewis

By Cary L. Cooper, Suzan Lewis

This article offers pointers on facing tricky staff and employers tactfully and successfully.

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Remember the power of silence; do not be afraid to maintain silence to gain control in an aggressive interaction. ᔢ Practise saying, ‘No’. 55 Scope, Aims and Strategies ᔢ Use the fogging technique to diffuse the aggressive interaction. This approach allows you to recognize what is happening without agreeing with it so that you do not become either defensive or aggressive. You are not required to back down or agree with the attack. ’ 56 6 ACTION PLANNING The first step in action planning is to undertake an accurate diagnosis of the problem.

Encourage the aggressor to talk about the feelings that are causing their aggressive behaviour. ᔢ Check your own inner dialogue for faulty thinking: Are you harbouring unrealistic or irrational beliefs? ᔢ Use empathetic listening to show the other person that you understand what they are saying, that you respect them and take them seriously. ᔢ Clarifying any discrepancies that exist. Aggressive behaviour often arises from misunderstandings. ᔢ Explain how you are feeling and the impact of their behaviour on your actions.

The aim is to establish a realistic balance between professional and personal life activities and achievements. 49 Coping With Difficult People Avoid setting unrealistic goals and deadlines for yourself and other people. Cease trying to be an idealist because it is likely to simply end-up in disappointment and hostility towards others. Do not bottle up emotions or anger because this is extremely damaging. Find ways to ‘vent steam’. For example, vigorous physical activity; write that ‘angry’ letter, but keep it somewhere safe until you calm down and can read it again, before deciding on the best course of action; talk to trusted friends or colleagues about your thoughts, fears and anxieties.

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