October 06, 2006

Difficult Personalities, Part 2: How To Deal with Them

I’m not saying that I’m an expert in overcoming situations that outcome from problems stated in the previous post. On the contrary, this is something that I have always had problem with. “Not to explode” and “Not to get upset” were always challenges for me. Exploding in such a situation, I think, is the worst thing one could do. That is why I always observe what other (smarter :) ) people are doing in those circumstances; how do they behave and how are they dealing with the situation.

Situations can be different, but some best practices I often use are the following:
  • Concentrate on constructive issues (resolution of the problem)
  • Be deaf to personal insults. Never respond in the same manner; no matter what.
  • Avoid emotional responses and stay professional (bite your tongue if necessary)
  • Wait for the other person to come down before you continue with that conversation. In the meanwhile stay calm and don’t respond to provocations.
  • If you can’t calm down, leave the room and return in 5-10 min when you do.
  • Refuse to discuss about things that are of no use to you and the project you are working on.
  • Stop any useless discussion as soon as possible.
  • Afterwards, act as if nothing happened and treat this person in the same way you did before the “incident”.
I don’t know about others, but for me, this last point is the most difficult one.

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