Poor communication skills will make you a poor leader and even seen as difficult. But if everyone in the office is complaning about a difficult person, what do you do if it’s you? This is in fact, one of the key reasons you want to improve communication skills in the workplace. If you don’t, you’ll become the difficult person everyone is dealing with and complaining about.
When they’re “dealing with difficult people” in your office, and you discover they’re
talking about you, here’s five things you can do:
1. Face it head on
This isn’t the time to ignore the problem or brush a perception under the rug. If someone perceives you to be the person for which dealing with difficult people training classes were created, it’s time to recognize this issue and face it head on. Mind you, head on, dos NOT mean in a defensive, overly direct, or accusatory fashion. Maintain objectivity, try to look at both sides and recognize that the data that creates your perceptions is JUST as real as their data. We don’t argue with own data, so telling them they’re wrong, isn’t going to work. Changing your behavior or explaining yourself might be more effective and frankly a faster fix.
2. Define Difficult Instead of Different
Others may perceive you as difficult for no other reason than their personality is vastly different than yours. That difference creates a large number of misunderstandings, much confusion, inaccurate interpretation, and miscommunication. All of these lead quickly to the perception from you AND from them, that you’re both dealing with difficult employees. Is that true? Or are you both just different and need some guidance on how to communicate better with each other?
3. Find a fix
Perhaps it is hiring an executive coach or bringing in a dealing with difficult people training class that will help you fix the problem. Maybe it’s reading Make Difficult People Disappear or studying material on conflict, communication, or listening skills. (click on listening skills to see Wednesday’s post on listening skills’ books) Actively search for a fix that will build your skills and improve those traits that others see as difficult and have labeled accordingly.
4. Work as a Team
Maybe you and the leader of this new label you’ve been given, can work as a team to find a solution. Perhaps you attend a class together or read a book together. More imporantly, maybe you both recognize that unless you both meet each other in the middle, one is going to feel resentment and likely stop trying. Of course, this means that you’ll have to accept thier opinion as valid, while perhaps not accurate, and have a conversation with them that is void of defensive language or behavior. You can do this.
5. Remember Your Sense of Humor
The moment you become all wrapped around the axle about someone telling you you’re the difficult person at the office that everyone is dealing with, is the moment you lose objectivity, rationale, and any shred of control over the situation. Yes, it can sting when someone dislikes your approach or behavior or attacks your character. Sure. However, a good dose of a reasonable sense of humor (Note: humor and sarcasm are NOT the same thing) can go a long way toward repairing the relationship damage or even preventing future conflict with the person YOU are now labeling the difficult person. Yes, once someone labels you retaliation can be normal, but humor and open mind is always going to serve you better.
You’re communication is indeed contagious! Have a great weekend!
P.S. The Contagious Communication training course can help with many of the above listening and workplace communication challenges. See if this course meets your needs and download the brochure here. If things have gotten out of hand and you are now dealing with difficult people, then maybe the Make Difficult People Disappear training class is more of what you’re looking for. In that case, read up on this course, see if it meets your needs and download the brochure here.