They service us, we work with them, we commute with them, and some of us even live with them. Difficult people are everywhere. In my seminars, I teach people how to deal with specific types of difficult people, which I name after animals because they have animal traits. Here are 5 Cool Ideas for dealing with difficult people.
1. Understand and accept your personal power.
Predatory personalities will often try to leverage their influence on you. Bosses will try to leverage their position power. Large people may try to intimidate you with physical power. It’s important for you to remember that you have a huge amount of personal power, which can trump all other types of power, if used strategically and responsibly.
2. Process all the signals people send you.
Neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) refers to the patterned behavior commonly known as “body language. NLP allows you to monitor the non-verbal signals that people send. Hands and eyes, for example can be terrific indicators of what someone is really thinking. NLP experts have discovered that liars and other difficult people tend to look up and to the left when they are uncomfortable with what they are saying. Send me an e-mail if you would like to receive a chart of NLP signals and what they mean. Put “NLP” in the subject line of your message.
3. Practice “You Can’t Hurt Me.”
The concept of “You Can’t Hurt Me” was first published in my “Hmmm” booklet several years ago. The concept states that people cannot emotionally harm you unless you allow them to. People who have “You Can’t Hurt Me,” send subtle signals that convey Personal Power. The signals are sent when they shake hands (eye contact, firm grip, and pleasant expression), enter a room (smile and confident stride) and speak (excellent vocabulary, good diction, and good eye contact).
4. Take cues from your difficult people.
Passive-aggressive people, on the other hand, dare you to confront them. You may decide to do that. Time-wasters take up as much time as you give them so give them less time. Self-subjugation is the art of helping other people feel a little bit superior to you. Use it with know-it-alls by paying homage to their genius. Use it with micro-managers by letting them be the captain of your team rather than trying to wrestle control from them. Treat amiable people as they want to be treated by not challenging them too much.
5. Remember that you can’t change or control other people.
You can’t control others, but you can control your reaction to them. Read Miguel Ruiz’ fine book, “The Four Agreements,” in which he encourages us to be in control of our behavior and emotions, especially when dealing with difficult people.