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Archive for dealing with difficult people at work

What if you could know what your boss is thinking? Their top concerns, worries, professional likes and dislikes? Who they want to hire, promote, or fire and why? And what if you’re a student about to enter the workforce, or already in it? As an author, award-winning speaker, and workplace expert, Colleen Kettenhofen has delivered more than 1,100 entertaining programs in 48 states and five countries. She has interviewed over 200 managers and a handful of top executives and CEOs to find out job-critical secrets about employees that bosses don’t share easily. Many revealed details of what they expect and, more importantly, don’t expect from their employees. Armed with this insight–whether you’re in the workforce, or a student, or both,–you’ll be better prepared to communicate successfully with others. Maybe you’ll receive more recognition–or even a raise!

*Please note: this demo video is simply an illustration or “audition” of Colleen’s keynotes, breakout sessions, and seminars on leadership, managing people, dealing with difficult people, and improving communication and morale.

Have you ever had a conversation with someone and immediately dismissed that person as a jerk? Have you ever gotten annoyed at someone who didn’t call you back and, under your breath, concluded, “This person is a butthead!”

     You’re likely to call people jerks or buttheads (if only in your mind) for one of two reasons: 1) because of a personality trait that person possesses that clashes with your own, or 2) because that person simply didn’t do what you wanted in that moment. Dealing with difficult people is often the result of a personality clash.

     Let’s look at an example of the first. A friend of mine has difficulty with a co-worker whom she describes as “anal retentive” and calls a perfectionist. Not surprising, my friend is the complete opposite. She also has a hard time understanding this colleague because she says she’s too blunt with others. Their ways of handling situations differ completely. And sometimes their personalities clash.

     Adding to that, they were raised differently when it came to resolving conflict. While the “blunt” person learned to be direct, my friend was raised with the belief that “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” In this case as in many, different people equal difficult people.

     If you possess personality traits that clash with someone else’s, try to resolve issues in person, or, next best thing, over the phone. Nowadays, people in the workplace are challenged by important messages getting misconstrued via email. You know how it goes. You send someone a neutral email and its meaning is taken the wrong way. Why? One reason is because you can’t “read” a person’s body language in email. And there’s no “tone of voice” unless you carefully craft one.

     Carol Burnett said it best. “Words, once they’re printed, tend to take on a life of their own.”

     Yes, it’s more confrontational to talk with someone in person, but in the long run, you’ll find it more constructive.

     Here’s an example of the second. My friend got asked out by a guy she really liked. He was regarded as an easy-going gentleman to those of us who knew him well, but he never asked her out a second time. She instantly dismissed him as a jerk. However, once she realized he was “difficult” because he didn’t do what she wanted him to do, she got over it!

     Sometimes difficult people aren’t really difficult. They’re simply different.

Kern Radio

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

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