April, 2013

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Assertiveness & Self Confidence: Dealing with Difficult Situations

Dealing with Difficult Situations

A difficult person can be your boss, your co-worker, or anyone else. He or she behaves in a way that is disruptive to business or life outside of work. In a work setting, often the functioning of a team is disturbed leading to a disruption of the work flow, flared tempers, and gossip. The bottom line is that work suffers and difficult situations cost organizations money.

To deal with difficult people, we innately try to apply coping filters, such as:

  • Removing virtually all positive attributes about the person. (“He was my worst hiring mistake…”)
  • Defaming him or her (We build consensus with others against the person
  • Explaining the person in negative terms.

Anger also plays a big part; feeling angry, we instinctively use anger to try to manage the situation.

To break the cycle of negativity, take time to answer the following questions:

  1. What observable behaviors or statements did the person perform or say?
  2. What is the most positive interpretation an outside witness would make? The most negative?
  3. What will you gain by interpreting the difficult person’s actions or words in as positive a light as possible?
  4. What would you do or say when you respond to the difficult person if you viewed his or her actions in a positive light? What is stopping you from responding this way?

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