Since the industrial age, books had been written, trainings have been created and courses have been held on handling difficult people. Specially in the corporate set-up. There are lots of techniques among these that work to a great extent. However, I’ve heard of many cases and I personally know myself that none of these tactics have worked.
And 99% of the time it’s because of something that cannot be explained by logic, strategies and tactics. Yet, very few know about it. The people who are aware of this are very successful at dealing with difficult, sensitive situations as well as have great awareness of themselves.
The reason why this cannot be explained using logic is because the root cause lies at a human level.
So let me tell you a story…
Once upon a time ago…in a far far away land…(just kidding)
Once a highly talented professional came to me asking for help with his work. He felt like calling in sick every morning all because of one person: his manager… In his words ‘I feel like quitting everyday. I hate when she micromanages, it just drives me crazy. I think it’s time I quit’.
I’m sure we’ve all felt like this at one stage or another. While I felt for him putting up with this for 8 hours/day, 5 days a week, I needed to find out exactly what was happening. So through our conversation I found out she was keeping her fingers in the pie, at all times, just to meet her deadlines.
Unhealthy management style? Sure… But this was not the issue here. The issue lies in how he felt when she did this. And when I dug a little deeper I discovered the way his manager was acting made him feel untrustworthy, controlled and micro managed.
Something interesting about this professional was freedom was one of his highest values and her behaviour was triggering emotions from his childhood of not trustworthy, controlled and deep down feeling not good enough. So when he’d see her at work, he’d be angry, frustrated and anxious.
Maybe the manager was acting wrong, but regardless, the emotions being triggered had nothing to do with her. And the very moment he came to understand this, he became self-aware enough to create a strategy to deal with it.
An Executive level manager once came to me with to complain about how a subordinate of his was super difficult to manage. He said he tried everything in the textbook and nothing seem to work!
The Executive manager was even considering letting her go because she’d been ‘told’ many times and still no improvement.
When I dug deeper (as I do!) it was clear the subordinate was not necessarily acting disrespectfully, but rather some of the things she did (for whatever the reason) the Executive was giving it the meaning ‘disrespectful’.
And not surprisingly….this wasn’t the first time someone had been acting this way…
It turned out, this subordinate’s behaviour was triggering a memory of people from his childhood! (crazy, right?)
And what was happening was, because this being a sensitive spot for the Executive, everytime someone behaved even remotely close to the behaviour he saw as a child, it brings back all the negative emotions he felt when he was a child.
Hence, ‘that person is disrespectful’!
So what’s the point?
When we interact with other, even for a brief moment, we filter a lot of information we see, hear and feel through our past experiences, a lot even from childhood. And as a result, a lot of emotions get triggered even when they have no relevance.
Unless you are a very self aware person and have dealt with all of the baggage from the past (regardless how perfect you think your childhood was) it’s very easy to miss this.
‘So what do I do about this Vindya?’…
Well….have you encountered the same kind of scenario with different people from different teams or companies in the past? Think of a person you’ve had difficulty dealing with…
How do they make you feel?
What do they do to make you feel that way?
Are there patterns in behaviour?
Who from your past gave you the same negative feelings?
Please note that for you to do this, you have really dig deep into your psyche. I may make it sound easy as I’ve been doing what I do for years.
Some of the most mysterious cases gets resolved this way. While all tactics you’ve learned will make you a great professional, being aware of the emotional side would move you leaps and bounds.
So here’s the challenge I would like to leave you with…
What relationship do you have at work, in your business or at home, do you wish was easier?
And if you do change things around, how would that change things for you?
P.S. If you’d like to know more, download free book ‘5 Secrets The Super Successful Use To Smash Through Glass Ceilings And Catapult Their Career To The Top’.