Some people are difficult to handle. Others are downright impossible. It’s no wonder that businesses hire consultants like myself to come into their organizations and sort out what they term as “people problems”. Sometimes people just don’t get along with others and there isn’t a distinct reason why- some people call it a “vibe” or a “gut feeling”, others have had lousy first impressions that they are unable to see past- and some people are just plain obnoxious. I get it!
In our professional and personal lives we all have our own ways of dealing with these types of people. Sometimes we checkout mentally the moment they start to speak to us, actively awaiting the opportunity to name some urgent meeting or phone call we absolutely must get to, and then quickly scurry off to solace elsewhere. Some of us intentionally avoid interacting with them completely, and there are even those of us who go on the offensive by verbally sparring with them just to “get a rile out of ’em”!
Here’s the problem with all of those approaches: The issue doesn’t go away, it only magnifies with each additional run-in, and all of these methods consume way more energy than facing the problem head on ever possibly could.
Our relationships with other people- seniors, peers, and subordinates alike- all directly impact our ability to be effective individuals. We cannot avoid our bosses no matter how frustrating they are. We can’t completely tune out our peers because frequently we need viable relationships with them to get our jobs done effectively. And lastly, we can’t fly off the handle at our subordinates because (let’s face it) we might just get canned, and for those who don’t lose their jobs, they’ve certainly lost any modicum of respect and loyalty they’d earned from that subordinate leading up the explosive encounter.
The fact of the matter is simple- we are responsible for building relationships with other people that do not think, act, or feel the way we do. The only way you’ll ever be successful at doing that is by learning to “flex”.
Monday Morning Perspective
“Nature has a funny way of breaking that which does not bend.” –Anonymous
“Be clear about your goal but be flexible about the process of achieving it.” -Brain Tracy
Learning to flex your style- whether it is your communication style, leadership style, organization style, etc.- is all about getting to know the other person. No matter how different they are from you, at the end of the day, people are just people. They want the same things you do- to be liked for who they are and what they contribute, and to earn your respect for both.
To engage that person who isn’t your favorite someone, begin by identifying the things about them that you do respect and relate to, write them down if you have to, but most importantly, TELL THEM. Don’t be afraid to do it more than once or to compliment them in front of other people. You’ll be amazed at what a small amount of effort on your part can accomplish in a short amount of time- and how quickly you can earn someone’s respect if you only bother to understand him or her.
Even if you’re never destined to be bosom buddies, building effective relationships is a must-do for people who strive to be successful in life. As the old saying goes, “A smart man never burns a bridge that he may need to win a battle later.”
This week I challenge you to “find your flex” and put your newfound flexibility to work for you, especially in your most challenging relationships. Better to bend than break!
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2012. All rights reserved.