“Start with Yourself”: Even the most difficult person is still your own person-how to turn your opponent into a teammate?

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Difficult People – How to Turn Your Opponent into a Teammate

We moved to California many years ago and I found my dream job. I was hired to build and teach a digital media program at a well-funded private school a few blocks from the ocean, which was great.


I was welcomed by the principal and other teachers, given a generous budget for equipment, and given complete autonomy and trust to develop a program that would engage both teachers and students. This is indeed an excellent opportunity.

Everything seemed perfect, exactly, until Melvin (not his real name) made a move. With decades of experience, he always found a way to create his own position and get involved in everything on campus. His personality is very difficult to get along with, and he often puts on a condescending superior posture. Since he was in control of anything technology-related, no one dared to stand up to him for fear of being assigned an old computer or being yelled at by him in front of their colleagues. There are only two kinds of people in Melvin’s world: friends and idiots, and you’re never sure which one you fall into on a given day.

During my first year at the school I saw students belittled, teachers quit, and good projects died, all because of Melvin.

Later, I gradually took stopping Melvin’s behavior as a personal mission, and I yearned for fairness and justice. Now I will admit that I am dealing with others in the same way, and I am determined to avoid his interference in official affairs. Keep him out of the way. Once the new school year started, I had enough and now that I’m a full-time teacher of technology, it’s my job to make sure all teachers know how to use technology in their classrooms. When I asked a new teacher about her usage, she expressed frustration with the technology Melvin had installed in her classroom.


I walked into her tiny classroom and found a rather large wire storage box hanging on the wall above one of the students’ seats. With my limited technical knowledge, I didn’t ask anyone for permission (especially not Melvin), took out the screwdriver and started moving the device.

A few minutes later, Melvin bursts through the door, swearing obscenities like a drunken sailor. Immediately I was also angry, so I stepped forward and looked him in the eyes, and responded with a bunch of words, which made him dumbfounded on the spot.

After I said that, of course I immediately regretted that I had crossed the line and treated him very disrespectfully.

The next day, the director of the personnel department called me to his office and handed me a dismissal letter, which stated that it was my fault. I had no choice but to sign, the damage was done because I made Melvin my enemy.


There’s Melvin everywhere, and there’s always someone who breaks the rules, doesn’t follow protocol, is quick-tempered, and makes life difficult for you. It would have been a lot smoother without people like Melvin. Ten years later, I’ve learned a few lessons on how to work with people like Melvin, and I’m sharing what I’ve learned with you in the hope that it will help you work with difficult people.

When you put people first, any conflicts and misunderstandings can be resolved in a way that you can look back on and be proud of.

One of my greatest professional regrets is dealing with Melvin’s situation. Sadly, only a few years later, Melvin suffered a massive stroke and I feel sorry for the way I treated him and often wish I could go back in time and deal with it differently.

Since that year, I’ve had many opportunities (yes, I see it now) to work with the Melvins. It is possible to work with them without lowering your tone and saying or doing things you regret later.

Imagine you and Melvin are part of the same team, what would it be like to fight side by side for your clients and customers every day? Because you are already on the same team, it is not “you versus me” but “us” that sees things. If you are colleagues, if you are neighbors, if you are in the same church or the same family, then it is the same team. But I also know that living and working with difficult people can be frustrating and aggrieved. So let me share a few strategies to teach you how to deal with those difficult people in your life.


Eliminate misunderstanding

When I was running a school, whenever I had a misunderstanding between a team member and me, I tried to clarify it as quickly as possible. I would invite the other person into my office and purposefully make him sit on the same side of the table as I am, looking at the whiteboard together. Then I’d say, “There seems to be some tension between us, and I’ve asked you to let you know, and I hope to clear up any misunderstandings. I’m looking at this conversation as a starting point, and I know not everything will be resolved today, but I Hope you know, I’d love to hear from you.”

This is the first step in eliminating misunderstandings: listening to the other party’s complaints and grievances.

When something separates you from someone, talk to that person as directly as possible. Take up your responsibilities, and leave space for the other party to express their grievances, understand their perspective on things, and listen to their position.


invite a third party

If someone refuses to meet with you, or if you can’t work things out together, it’s time to bring in a third party you both trust. It could be a supervisor in the office, a friend you both know, or some neutral third party.

I’ve found that just by inviting a third party in, I can take a big step towards solving the problem. In the presence of a third party, if you do finally meet, be careful not to take a defensive stance, avoid trying to prove you are right, and find ways to find common ground.


leave documentary evidence and move on

If the other party is still reluctant to meet with you or a third party, eventually the time has come to move on. At this point you leave the documentary evidence and let’s go. Give the other person a window into your intentions, and move on.

I once ran into a situation where my client delayed deciding on her next step until the case had expired.

I’ve been very patient and gave her time to decide her next move, but months passed with no movement, and I suggested a meeting, or a third party to come and talk with us. She didn’t respond at all and didn’t seem to want to fix it, so I sent a notice and if she didn’t reply within thirty days, I was going to move on. I gave a copy of the email to the attorney and the third party, and I was able to put the case aside and move on, knowing that I had given her the opportunity to deal with the matter.

You can’t force people to deal with their problems, and if you’ve given them ample opportunity to find a solution and they still don’t respond, you can move on with a clear conscience.


Keep the doors of communication open

I can especially appreciate this. When the other party does not communicate or does something unreasonable, instead of refusing to communicate, you should keep the door of communication open for future compensation and reconciliation; you don’t know what the other party has encountered thing. After reaching my age, I have seen many people go full circle and return to the origin of the problem, and I finally understand the situation they encountered at that time. They taught me one thing over and over again: the most proactive stance I can take is to show compassion and keep the door of communication open.

I’ve heard it said that if we treat people like they’re hurting, we’re doing it right about 80 percent of the time. Well, I like this number. So, maintain compassion, and don’t close the door of communication just because the other party refuses to deal with the problem. To give grace, to be willing to seek reconciliation, even after many years.


When the difficult people are your family

What if that difficult person is family? One of the biggest challenges influencers face is not having the support of family members. I’ve seen many instances where, just as they were starting to do big things and their careers were taking off, their success became a threat to those who knew them best. This is often an unavoidable regret for those who are successful and famous. Sometimes your development is so great that the environment that raised you can no longer accommodate it.

Success often brings criticism, and criticism can come from where you least expect it. You think the people closest to you are supportive, but they judge you, they see things differently than you do, and you are very disappointed.

The best way to get rid of the disappointment your family brings is to let them stay the same, they go their own way, and your love for them remains the same. It’s easy to cling to our expectations of others, but the only person we can change is ourselves.

Family issues can be tricky and contentious to deal with, especially as you get older. Parent-child relationships can be full of misunderstandings, judgments, and expectations. You may never see eye to eye. But empathy helps, and forgiveness helps. from freedom. The first step in rebuilding a healthy family relationship is to choose to accept and choose to love.


deal with criticism

If you’ve ever gone out of your way to please your critics, trying to convince them of your point of view, you’ve probably learned that it’s impossible. If someone insists against you, you can’t change their mind.

We are too sensitive to the voice of our critics to take any action for fear of what others will say. But it doesn’t need to be that way, we have to accept the facts and make decisions based on the data.

When your boss or mentor becomes your critic, they may project strong emotions on you out of jealousy or fear of betrayal. Business strategist David. David D’Alessandro reminds us to be on the lookout for mentors who expect us to be at their beck and call throughout life. The wrong mentor thinks, “How can you climb to the top like me and keep me up at night that one day I might have to work for you. Just you?”


how to subdue

Slow down, calm down, breathe in, breathe out. Take it easy, but take responsibility.

“If we’re not careful, we can make life-changing decisions based on temporary conditions rather than the values ​​we hold.” If you don’t deal with it today, the longer it takes, the more expensive it will be. Don’t allow others to change your opinion of yourself. Time sees people’s hearts, if you can’t be sure, their true nature will eventually be revealed after a long time.


don’t think they all know

We all go into every relationship with our own expectations, but one thing I’ve learned is that it’s not fair to expect others to behave the same way that I was brought up with values ​​and behaviors. It may sound corny, but my wife and I do our best to teach our three children basic cultural norms—introducing ourselves, looking each other in the eye, shaking hands, saying please and thank you often, cleaning up when leaving a place, and even It’s even cleaner when you come. Our children do often stand out and impress adults.

Do you think other people should follow the code of conduct you were taught from childhood? It’s projecting your expectations onto others. Isn’t it irrational to be discouraged when someone doesn’t meet your standards and you never communicate your expectations to them? You’re just creating pain for yourself, and you’re asking for it.

I can’t expect people I work with to know the behaviors and systems that I want them to know, so I need to inform and help them understand my expectations first. A people-first leader can see these gaps and communicate expectations clearly to ensure consensus.


work for reconciliation

Some people will not change, but this does not mean that they can be excluded in advance without giving them a chance. Have you already listed some people as denied accounts? Were they so “that” (feel free to substitute the ones you find particularly troubling) that you don’t even want to try again? Don’t let the opportunity to start a conversation slip by. If you don’t solve the problem, you will be left with regret. Don’t let your past, present or future be nothing but stories of regret.

There are people you need to see, there are people who have unresolved issues with you, and there are things that are missing, but you still have freedom and healing. When you put people first, things start to change: relationships can be reunited, enemies can become friends. You can move forward with vision and integrity knowing you’ve taken care of some of the tricky parts of your life. While it may not be possible to restore every relationship, it will set you free if you are willing to try.


An Effective Process for Silencing Critics

When I was still a school administrator, I often had to have difficult meetings with teachers or parents. I would rearrange my office early in the morning with the goal of creating an atmosphere of trust. I would remove the conference table, leaving only the whiteboard and two chairs. When someone comes into my office with a complaint, we sit down at the whiteboard and work out a solution together. We are no longer in conflict, because we are sitting on the same side, facing the problems on the whiteboard together, we write the problems to be solved, the expectations that are not met, because what is written on the whiteboard can always be solved Wipe it clean. Once we agree on the challenges we face, writing them down is the first step in finding solutions.

I start by saying something like, “It looks like we have a challenge before us, and my goal is to get your point of view and make sure I understand your question so we can work it out together.”

Opening like that is more likely to disarm the other person, and people feel understood because I’m looking for understanding. As soon as they start their presentation, I say, “Would you mind if I take a note?” They almost always say, “Yes, no problem.” Then they move on, and I put some key words and ideas in at the same time. Write it down on the whiteboard.

I have to admit it felt a little weird at first, but when someone says, “I don’t feel like I’m being heard,” I write “I don’t feel like I’m being heard” on the whiteboard. If they say, “I’m really frustrated because the timing isn’t right,” I write “timing.” Write down the questions one by one until they are all presented on the whiteboard.

After the other party has confided his frustration and frustration, I ask, “Is there anything else? Please take a look at what is listed on the whiteboard. Are there any other issues that need to be discussed?” The person involved will probably look at the Look at the list and add one or two because they see I’m listening. Difficult people are just like you and me: they just want someone to listen to them. I often find that the real reason for their presence in my office is never brought up until the end, and that is the real cause of the problem.

Often the last thing to say is the hardest to say, probably because of unmet expectations: “I don’t feel understood”, “I suspect this is not my specialty”, “I’m not sure this is the best place for me” ”, “I have a bad time with my students”, “Something happened to my family”. If I’m patient enough, I usually wait until the other person finally speaks up and the solution emerges.

After writing all the questions, I started looking for topics. I categorized the different problems and said, “Okay, what would your life look like if every single one of these problems could be solved—if the whiteboard was wiped clean and we could move on without these problems? ?”

When someone tries to find a solution to our problems, it can upset us and surprise us. What would life be like if all problems were magically solved? That’s when they describe it: “I’ll feel valued again.” “I’ll have more responsibility.” “I’ll feel as though I have a voice at school.” “I’ll feel respected by students and parents.”“ I will enjoy working every day.”

That’s the point of the whole talk. When I position our sessions in this way with someone who is ready to give me a hard look, it often changes the whole dynamic because I really want to serve them. Even though the meeting resulted in them leaving, there are many instances where the conversation clarified their long-term intentions: “Do you intend to stay here?” Clarify expectations, identify problems, clarify goals, and then plan to move towards them The next step in this can make all the difference.

If you apply the techniques I’ve shared in this chapter, you’ll find that difficult people show up less and less because a real change occurs within you and these strategies become your habits. Often, when you deal directly with difficult people from day one, they change their reactions to you.

Finally, I want to end with a true story. I remember that when I was the class tutor in my first year, there was a student in the class who was particularly difficult to deal with. On the first day of school, when I was explaining the class rules, she stood up and announced in front of the class, “This sucks! I don’t want to be in this classroom!” and walked out. When I told the school administrator afterwards that I was stunned, her answer left me dumbfounded: “A competent teacher is never intimidated.” I learned over the years that competent teachers already expect to be Often teach difficult students. Not only will they not be surprised by students who are difficult to deal with, but they know how to deal with such students who find trouble, and they will come up with strategies to prevent the situation from escalating.

After I learned some strategies for dealing with difficult students, my second year of teaching went much smoother. On the first day of school, when the whole class was queuing up to shake hands with the teacher before entering the classroom, a student suddenly said, “Lu Snake is the only one in line.”

I shook his hand calmly, asked his name, and politely asked him to rejoin the line at the back. That one interaction won him over, and he was obedient throughout the school year. Other teachers complained about his behavior in the classroom, and I couldn’t relate because I learned an effective strategy.

Now that you have strategies for dealing with difficult people in your life, please review this chapter and apply these skills, because even the most difficult people are still your own.

【Create Thinking Power】

  • Critics are never satisfied, but not all difficult people are critics.
  • The volume of your critics is up to you.
  • What we don’t like about ourselves is the part we dislike in others.
  • Your success invites envy.

【Build Mobility】

  • Be the first to act in reconciliation.
  • Recognize that your strongest supporters may not always be family.
  • Rearrange your office to facilitate dispute resolution.



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