Empowering Administrative Professionals
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Does this sound familiar? If not, perhaps you have another scenario in mind where you’ve found yourself interpreting or maneuvering difficult behaviors or conversations. Interpreting and maneuvering difficult conversations can be stressful and emotionally charged!
What’s at stake? How do you sort out feelings and emotions? What strategies should you use to come to a good resolution? How should you approach and define the problem? How do you keep calm? What do you say? So many questions not to mention the questions we ask when we’re caught off-guard. What just happened? Did he/she really say that to me? How do I approach my boss about a difficult conversation? How do I engage in a conversation with a challenging co-worker? The list goes on and on.
In my consulting with support professionals, I’ve seen an increase in a request to better manage difficult conversations as well as when you are dealing with difficult behaviors. With some potential strategies, it is possible to learn how to respond without aggravating the situation.
What if the difficult person is your boss or your co-worker. He or she behaves in a way that is disruptive to business, and it pushes you into a difficult conversation. In a work setting, these difficult or awkward moments disrupt work flow, trigger tempers, and increase gossip. The bottom line is that work and relationships suffer not to mention that these difficult situations cost organizations money.
What techniques work? I’ve found that applying coping filters can make it worse. Some people cope by removing virtually all positive attributes about the person. They make comments like, “He is the worst manager I’ve met.” Another coping tactic is insulting him or her by building consensus with others against the person.
Let’s admit that anger also plays a big part. When we feel angry, we may instinctively use it to manage the situation. To break the cycle of angry or negative behavior, try using a few of the following questions:
- What evident behaviors or statements did the person perform or say?
- What will you gain changing your words to interpret the difficult person in a positive way?
- What if you looked in the mirror to find that the difficult person was you? Would you see things with a different perspective?
Interested in learning more strategies, tips, phrases, and ideas about dealing with difficult people and conversations? Please contact me. I also hope you were able to join us in Carmel on March 2-3 for the Admin Retreat all about maneuvering and interpreting difficult conversations. You can find more details from the retreat here.