How are you today?
Don’t want to remind you of the day we are in because every day can be any day, like the weather. Just think about it for a second, our feelings are very similar to the weather and sometimes certain feelings are moments which some phycologist or doctor has given a name to but maybe it’s actually a deep hibernation. So, the weather comes and go just like feelings and the days.
Don’t be too hard on yourself, remember we all have those days, you just don’t know of them. I think this topic is so cool, and just wait till you read what I’m about to tell you. I too have learnt gems of knowledge while researching this subject.
How much willpower do you have? Okay, let me rephrase it. How much willpower do you have when it comes to difficult people?
How many times, have you met a person for the first time and had already formed an opinion in your head on whether you will or won’t like this person? Sorry, I’ve done this a ton of times and I am pretty sure that at some point and majority of the seven and a half billion people on our planet have done the same. The truth is that some people would say that the limbic system kicks in automatically because we are creatures, we are designed to survive and so we often have the flight or fight mechanism kick in.
We have created different archetypes and as soon as we meet one of them, we know that they will impact us, so we need to change.
So now you’re asking, why should we change? The answer: We should change because we don’t want to have a problem being created for us by them. We don’t want to deal with the stress and what it does to the body to remain fit and healthy, so we need to change.
We can’t change other people’s behaviour unless they are willing to change.
By the way, there are over 325 archetypes. Check this article out.
The thing is that we are all guilty of labelling people when they do something that we don’t like, but at the same time when we see someone we know really well that we get along with or like doing something then we give them a positive label.
What do I mean by this? Here are a few examples.
If someone has created a better version of a product that already exists for the first time and we have no idea about who they actually are then we’d call them, say for an example; a copycat.
If your friend has invented over a dozen things, then say for example you’d call him or her an expert.
Or for example, we’d see someone who is selling a product to the public and you might define them as being aggressive whereas if it was a brother, cousin, sister, friends etc. that you know and get along with you’d say, for example, he/she is determined or passionate.
This really is a bias that we have as human beings.
It’s really important to asked questions if you want to understand behaviour.
I want to give you an example of what I mean.
Say you have several new staff members for the first time which you have to manage. After successfully running a small business by yourself you are not entirely sure if this new team will run the business properly.
You – The business owner who has looked after your business for years and now transitioning by having to delegate.
There is a clash between yourself and the way the employees are running things and you find that most of the time you have to do everything yourself for the place to run smoothly.
The employees are finding themselves unhappy and you find yourself unhappy and there is a clash.
A behavioural intelligence specialist comes in to help out and asks the staff members to write down what are their issues and what they feel about their boss and the boss then writes down the issues and feelings he has with his staff and submits that to the behavioural intelligence specialist. The behavioural intelligence specialist reads and reviews it and then gives the paper the business owner has written about his issues and feelings of his staff to the staff and the paper of the staff’s issues and feelings are handed to the business owner.
They read it while they sit near each other and then look at each other in “Oh! I’m so sorry,” sympathising look. “Omg, I can’t believe this is how I come off at serving clients and my boss,” and the boss is like, “Omg! I can’t believe that I am the first boss that they feel actually care about them.”
Basically, Persons 1 wrote this (for the sake of getting across to you I will use 1 point):
Name made up – John doesn’t care how we run his business. He just doesn’t show us a lot more than what we need to know. We feel like we’re being held down from our full potential.
John (Business owner) wrote this (for the sake of getting across to you I will use 1 point):
The staff don’t use their own initiative, I have to show them everything. I am allowing them to know what they need to know but I want to see how they innovate and take my business on the next level because I chose each one of them for this role according to the skills they mentioned on their CV.
This is what happens when you just label people and don’t think before doing it and then ask questions after you thought about it. So basically, each party labelled each other as difficult.
Asking questions reduces uncertainty.
So, say, for example when someone comes to you and tells you, “The boss is calling you in the office.”
You don’t think it’s perhaps something positive or expect the positive like maybe you’re doing a good job, the first thing you think of is that you’ve done something wrong. This then raises the level of anxiety you are having. You then take this anxiety from the uncertainty to the meeting with your boss which he most definitely senses. (This is the vibe – vibration you’re carrying and bringing with you to the meeting).
Predicting those types of behaviours will reduce anxiety.
Don’t ignore predictions people give you in the workplace. I understand that when you start a new job your defences are high due to past experiences but don’t block yourself from the predictions good people whom you are not aware of in your new job are giving you, listen and be aware. Like if someone tells you that your manager prefers things like this give it a shot (it’s a big risk) but you might find that you’ve just about made a good friend in the workplace who really does want to see you succeed because she saw how the last person doing the job you’re doing ended up. You have no idea what the history was before you walked in. Keep an open mind.
Now, this is pretty important. Influencing behaviours – How do you influence someone who really is a difficult person? Can you imagine how it comes across when you say, “Your behaviour is doing so and so and so…” You will be met with aggression because you have just risen their defence mechanism. They will look for the ways that your behaviour contributes to it and fire back. Then you will find yourself in a more difficult place; to get out of the argument.
The way to do this in a way where you don’t get met with aggression is by using the correct words; inclusive language. Rephrase the sentence to, “I notice that we’re having trouble communicating. We should probably take a look at this more effectively.” Communication is a two-way street. Now you engage the other person. That is togetherness.
Reward and recognition is another way to influence people. When you praise people and give them recognition for what they are doing you go from the enemy zone to the friend zone.
It is much more valuable to be a friend in work or anywhere else because if people like you they will do business with you and if they don’t like you they will do whatever they can to usurp your ability to be successful.
Reward and recognition help build influence and rapport. People will start looking towards you as not necessarily the difficult person.
The truth is that each of us is a difficult person for someone else and until we recognise this we’re never going to be able to adjust our behaviour and that’s where we get into control.
Now to overcome this fight and flight or the limbic system it’s as simple as what we do when we’re kids.
- Take a deep breath and breath out.
The fight and flight does not know the difference between you interacting with someone who we think is difficult or a lion chasing you.
If a lion was going to be chasing you then you would run so by taking that deep breath you are telling the limbic system that everything is okay.
- Count to ten (not literally) but by saying, “I can see that the both of us are getting very passionate about this, why don’t we take a small recess, why don’t we take a step back and reset and then come at this with clear heads?”
Notice, the inclusive language?
Another way to look at difficult people is to separate the person from the behaviour; tough to deal with, bad etc, but if we look at it and say, “I dislike the behaviour that this human exhibits,” it separates those two things. The label is no longer on them but on the behaviour.
Then you can ask, “Is this behaviour worth my heart attack?” Hopefully, the answer is no.
Our relationships matter and if we’re not engaging in those relationships then they will continuously go down.
Be more thoughtful and aware of how we are.
Again, why should we change? Because we don’t want the heart attack.
References and information assisting with this subject and article were made through this video below by Jay Johnson.
T. Dench Patel