Overcoming Difficult People by Alan Tutt http://www.KeysToPower.com
Everywhere I turn lately, I find information to help deal with difficult people. My biggest reaction to all of it is this, why just deal with them when you can completely overcome them? Why just learn to tolerate being around those you can't stand, when you have option to either change them or get them out of your life completely!
Let me describe a situation that kind of sparked this whole thing. My girlfriend is a musician who does a lot of work for our church. One thing she did was to bring in another musician to add to experience of congregation, a guitar player who came in to play a few songs along with keyboard and singers. Everything went well, until afterwards when he stormed out of church without saying anything to anyone. Well, Linda met up with him later that day to pay him for his participation, and to find out what went wrong. At that point, he started "reading her riot act" asking how could a church possibly be right if it didn't preach this or that.
Linda tried to explain to this misguided guitar player that our church teaches things a little different from what he was used to, and that she had tried to explain that to him before bringing him into church (he was from a very conservative, fire-and-brimstone kind of church). Our church is one that teaches acceptance of others, living peacefully, and living principles taught by great teacher, Christ.
The difficult guitar player had a problem that minister didn't even mention name of great teacher, although lesson was clearly one that follows teachings. For over an hour, Linda tried to tell this person that she accepted fact that he believed things should have been different, and that she felt no need to convince him of anything. He, on other hand, felt very compelled to point out "the error of her ways". In short, he was being very difficult.
If I had been there, I would have been able to take care of situation, but it reminded me that there are specific techniques to use in order to get someone else to come around to your way of thinking. And when this is impossible, you can always get other person to not be so difficult. That is what I would like to share with you today.
There are two basic strategies for overcoming a difficult person. One is passive and other is active. The passive strategy is one that has been taught by great motivational leaders throughout history. Christ phrased it this way, "If your enemy strikes you on cheek, offer him other cheek as well." This does not mean that you actually ask to be beaten, but that you do not resist attack. Gandhi also taught path of no resistance.
With many personalities, if you don't fight back, then they realize that they cannot "get a rise" out of you and move on to someone they can intimidate. This works best when difficult person is being difficult as a means of 'proving' that they are strong and powerful. And this is usually case when you have someone who feels very insecure about his or her own identity. In Linda's case above, this was tactic she tried to use, but it failed because difficult person was not acting from a standpoint of insecurity.
In Linda's case, she was trying to overcome a person who had a strong need to be right. With this kind of personality, resistance or not, they will continue to fight for what they believe is right course of action. Religious wars have been all too common, and many political wars have been based on same theme. In our lives, we usually don't pursue conflict long enough for it to escalate into an all-out war. When you find yourself in this kind of situation, you need to take an active approach to overcoming difficult person.
The active approach has a few aspects that may be applied during course of encounter. The first aspect, which must be applied right from start, and all through encounter, is to communicate to difficult person that they are fighting a losing battle. No matter what they try to say or do, they will not convince you to become any different than you are. Now this will not be something you say outright. If you do, then you are throwing out a challenge, and difficult people always love challenges. Don't make situation any more difficult than it is already. Instead, you will implement second aspect of active approach.