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Solutions for Dealing with Difficult People and Situations

Eilidh Milnes


Do you have to deal with difficult people? Do people argue with you? Do folks say no, when you really need them to say yes? Well for ten years, I was the senior external trainer of Cheshire Constabulary delivering some 700 public presentations on behalf of the police force. The Constabulary give me three objectives:

  1. 1. Reduce the perception of crime.              
  2. 2. Create programmes.
  3. 3. Deliver them!

The presentations helped companies and organisations to act and think differently in order to reduce the stress of difficult situations. And the advice I shared then is just as relevant today. 

Be Responsible for the Outcome

No relationship is without friction. Why? Because disagreements happen. They are a feature of life. However arguing in public makes people feel uncomfortable. Kyle and Catriona hated when Jay and I argued. They felt confused. Apply that parenting analogy to your colleagues. If you and your business partner or leadership team argue openly; you inject uncertainty. You run the risk of losing the respect of your employees, especially if you expect them to take sides.

Children are masters of playing both ends against the middle. They know exactly what they want. They intrinsically sense who will give in first. Often their manipulation leads to discord. The same goes for the board room. If antagonistic behaviour becomes a frequent occurrence, it will lead to the demise of a happy family and a good business. 

Here are three solutions, which work the world over.

  1. 1. Be prepared to apologise when you are wrong. A simple straightforward, "I'm sorry..." with no "buts" or strings  attached                    
  2. 2. Be the first to give in terms of your time or a personalised and unexpected gift.
  3. 3. Take responsibility for whatever happens.

These three actions will hugely boost your relationships. It is almost impossible for someone to argue, when you smile, genuinely thank them (perhaps with a gift) and when appropriate you unreservedly apologise. 

At the end of the day, simply be responsible for whatever happens and then perhaps retreat to practice yoga by the river! (see inspirational image above...)

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You've probably realised by now, that I'm a great fan of all things 'Ted'. Enjoy Robert Cialdini's Ted Ed, The Science of Persuasion. This animation continues the theme I've covered today. It goes into depth about how average people use shortcuts, to help guide decision making and how that can be used to persuade people.  

Check out Michael Dodd's new publication, Great Answers to Tough Questions. I'm delighted that my friend has been nominated in the Best Business Book of the year category!

How Resilience Builds Better Business Connections and Tight Teams.

How Care Support Can Beat Stress.

Does Your Team Have a Voice?

That's it for now. #EverPositive Eilidh

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