Letters to my child. Leadership, Business and Kaizen.

Dealing with Difficult People: The Know-It-All

Dealing With Difficult People

I interrupted my reading list to check out a book given to me by a co-worker. In “Dealing with Difficult People”, Dr. Rick Brinkman  pinpoints the following criteria for people to feel better. According to research, people feel better when…

– They clarify their values

– Update their concepts

– Learn effective communication

– Learn relaxation skills

– Define their goals

-Work to meet their goals

A while ago at work I worked on a three day presentation on core values:

I was very happy with the result and since then shifted my talks towards team building and leadership (that can fall into “updating concepts”). I am going to start working on more presentations for 2014 on effective communication, relaxation skills and goals.

The only challenge will be “learn effective relaxation skills”. I definitely need to look into it. To relax I like to go fishing with friends. This year I made two excellent trips and made a video for each. Here is one of them:

I say I need to look into it because I am not sure the study meant that people need to learn how to relax while at work or on their own time at home.

According to the Harvard Business School definition, the role of a manager is to achieve results through others. I really like that definition and it gets repeated very often in class at the University of Toronto.

In “Primal Leadership” by Daniel Goleman, that role is expanded a little. He believes that it is also the role of good managers to make people feel good. The reasoning being that people who feel good are more dependable and achieve better results.

Herein lies the importance of knowing how to deal with difficult people. They make those around feel worse.

The first step in dealing with difficult people is obvious but often overlooked. It is crucial to identify the type of person we are dealing with. Doctor Brinkman made the following separation: the tank, sniper, grenade, know-it-all, think they know-it-all (but don’t), the yes person, no person, maybe person, nothing person and the whiner.

Once you identify the type of difficult person, your job as the manager/leader is to bring out the best out of them. Note that it is not your job to change people. Despite the fact that we spend a good amount of our time at work, this sort of change requires time invested outside of work. As such, it is not your job and I am going to take the leap and say it is not worth it.

Friends and family could not change that person.

Identify and try to bring their best when their best is needed.

I am going to give an example. In my social circle I have a friend who knows everything. He is the type of person who thinks he can describe the sunset in Japan better than anyone who lives there.. despite the fact he never visited. He can tell me how the inside of my socks feel better than myself… even if I have no socks on. He can tell you Coke is better than Pepsi without ever trying soda in his entire life.

It is difficult to deal with that person but that is just a personality trait. He is still a great guy. He is the go to guy when you need to have a good informative conversation. He is dependable and loyal. There is just one golden rule when talking to him: do not force ideas on the know-it-all.

I may revisit some of the other types of difficult people later on. If you are having trouble with a specific type of person at work or in your personal life, take a look at the book or try to reach me for advice.

While not a professional… you read this far so maybe you will like what I have to say. I did ace my Conflict Management class earlier this year. = )

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