“Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.”
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The issue I thought we could look at in this post is How to Deal with Difficult People. Let me preface this with a brief description of my background so you will have that context in mind as you read the blog. I (John the Social Media dude at CSI Onsite) have been involved with life coaching, pastoral ministry, police officers, teaching (youth, young adults, families…), marriage and pre-marriage consulting, military personal, sales schools, Martial Arts training, and have experience in both teaching and training in conflict resolution/communications skills. So it’s safe to say I have dealt with any number of people types…especially the difficult ones.
I have 4 basic guiding principles when dealing with all people.
- Be Kind
- Be Humble
- Be an Active Listener
- Be Assertive
Now to really do this topic justice, each guiding principle deserves its own post. This post will tackle the first principle – Be kind.
Principle 1: Be Kind
Problem people are “people”, not problems. Remember that you are dealing with a person who is a living human being and as such have an inherent value that goes above and beyond the difficulty they are now causing. Being kind goes a long way to help alleviate the frustrations of all involved.
I learned this from a patrol police officer who was recognized for his service to his community. It was noted in his award ceremony that in his 20 plus years he had never had to dram his weapon on a call-out. When asked how he accomplished that his answer inspired me with its simplicity. He said “Well when I went to call-out and it was for a drunk & disorderly, I went to deal with a man, a woman, a person who was drunk…not a drunk.” He continued “If a person was loud and angry, I spoke a little softer than there were speaking; I treated them like a person and tried to validate them as such. This always seemed to calm the situation down and I never had the need to draw my weapon in these situations.”
I have tried to incorporate these kindness principles in both my professional and personal life and I can tell you I have never regretted being kind to a person. The results are usually positive and at the very least I can say I have given my best to that person and the issue at hand.
I leave you with the actions I follow in my attempts to be kind:
- Remember that this is a person, someone to be valued, not a problem
- Treat them the way I wish to be treated (w/respect)
- Keep my voice intensity and my body language a little lower than theirs…I want a resolution, not a fight.
I hope you find these helpful in your dealing with people, especially the difficult ones. As you practice these principles you may find the number of difficult people to deal with begin to dwindle…give it a shot.
Next Week we will look at Principle 2: Be Humble we’ll see all y’all next week.