Think of the format of a Master Card commercial. In dealing with difficult people we have insanity, what’s typical, and then the priceless solution — or in this case 4 priceless solutions.
So, there’s insanity, or dealing with difficult people in the same old way and expecting them to do something different. There’s our typical response of labeling difficult people for easy description when we talk about them, and then there’s the priceless solution: using new labels that remind you to treat them in new ways so that you get different results!
So the priceless solution is for you, not the difficult person. We all know that the only person’s behavior you can change is yours so keep that in mind here and use these new labels to remind yourself how YOU can adjust your behavior when dealing with others in the workplace you’ve decided are difficult.
4 ways to describe difficult people
There are four new ways of describing them: Divas, Dragons, Detectives, and Drop Outs. Each label corresponds to our CORE Profile Personality Preferences, but also gives you a clue about what is creating the need for their difficult behavior and what is motivating them — both of which you can then directly address.
Divas – these are likely entertainer types motivated by a need for attention. Give them some and they get less difficult. The only reason they might appear to be a diva is because they are in an attention deficit and that causes them stress.
Dragons – these are likely commander types motivated by getting things done. Help them be more efficient and get immediate results and they’ll quit breathing fire down your neck. The only reason they do is stress makes them want to control the snot out of everything and barking orders is perceived to be a way to control.
Detectives – these are likely the more linear organizer preferences motivated and driven to do things right. With enough stress they become vigilant around details – give them as many facts and figures as you can find that are relevant and then give them time.Columbo could solve a murder in under an hour, but these guys need time to process and the more stress and pressure and less details, the more time they’ll take to figure out the “mystery”.
Drop Outs – these are likely your relater preferences who withdraw and close up when conflict arises and folks stop getting along. They need stability, certainty, reassurance, and harmony and if you can provide those or send them somewhere where there is more of that, the stress and disengagement will disappear.
Want to make all of your difficulties disappear? Add to these four simple strategies by understanding who YOU are, who THEY are and how your needs and styles might differ, but both have value and can be powerful when properly motivated, accepted and addressed.
By Monica Wofford, CSP, is a leadership development strategist, blogger, speaker, and author of Contagious Leadership and Make Difficult People Disappear