3 Quick Strategies for Dealing With Toxic People
Grow Your Business, Not Your Inbox
According to Ralph Waldo Emerson "Nothing surprises men more than common sense and good treatment." It's a solid observation on handling interactions with difficult people . Mark Goulston, a Los Angeles psychiatrist and business consultant and author of Just Listen: Discover the Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone , says it's simple to deal with bullies , the blaming, the yelling, and the complaining. Here are three strategies:
1. Don't expect them to be difficult. Once you have identified a difficult person, adjust your expectations so that you are not surprised by their actions and establish an emotional distance.
2. Say to yourself, here we go again. When these types of people don't get what they want, they drive you to anger or exasperation, making it harder for you to think clearly. Reframe the situation, remember, this is their problem, not yours.
"The most difficult people provoke us because they often hide something, lack of ability, lack of ability or something that they were supposed to do and did not do," says Goulston. "By provoking us, either out of anger or complaints, what they often try to do is distract us from exposing whatever they are hiding."
3. Let them finish talking. Interrupting can escalate things. If you stay calm and focused, difficult people will understand and will start to back away. When it's time to respond, choose whichever of the following methods seems most effective:
- Say, “Could you repeat that to me in a calmer tone? I did not understand what he told me"
- Take a break. You must look confused, tilt your head and ask, "How?"
- If they use a lot of hyperbolic language, ask them: "Do you really believe what you just said?"
- If they are getting desperate, use the “FEM” technique: To get someone out of their animosity say, “It seems (frustrated, angry, upset)… why?
Remove those difficult people from your life and business. As an entrepreneur, don't be too focused on the bottom line that allows you to let a bully run like crazy among your employees. According to Goulston, "the more you recognize and remove difficult people from your company, the more positive culture is going to be and the more people want to come to work with you."