Joni Rogers, CEO and founder of SeneGence International recently sent out the following email to her leaders in the USA, Canada and Australia. When you read her writing you will certainly benefit in both business & personal life.
Joni writes the following:
Hmmmmmmâ€¦â€¦another week of ponderingâ€¦â€¦. What are the issues that affect MY LEADERS (I am quite possessive of you, you know) and what topic do we need to â€˜get out into the openâ€™ and deal with so that we can together grow, build, and prosper? After several phone calls regarding a variety of topics with many of youâ€¦â€¦â€¦I think weâ€™ll talk aboutâ€¦
Working with Difficult Peopleâ€¦..or DP
Before we forge forthâ€¦..let me say I LOVE DP! They make me smile inside and out from ear to ear; as they tax my mind beyond my limits and force me to grow and try to better myself. Often mystified by a statement or action – difficult people demand of me to learn to be more empathetic, more compassionate, more understanding of the frailties of the human psyche and its vulnerabilities. As a mother â€“ DP make me acutely aware of the impact that oneâ€™s back ground and rearing (and the various related personalities of the caretakers) has on an individual and how it influences and ultimately shapes a personâ€™s attitudes and presence of mind. DP have actually helped to make me more aware and a better mother.
It took awhile to learn to appreciate DP. I used to get upset, I took things they said or did personallyâ€¦ until I understood the challenge and rewards that comes by learning to work with themâ€¦.which is â€˜to become a better and stronger Leaderâ€™ by developing the skills required to work with ALL people â€“ difficult or not (as long as they are law abiding).
Who are these DP of whom I speak? You know them. Maybe you work with them, live with them, or even hang out with them. (Why do we do that? Could it be habit and fear of change or disruption of a comfortable routine?) To call these people negative is an understatement. They complain, they vent, they criticize, they blame. DP make an impact and require a greater amount of stabilization and maintenance of your own person. Until, that is, you learn how to handle them.
Negative Nancy prefers complaining about anything and everything to finding a solution. Quick with the â€œbutsâ€ whenever a possible solution or new idea is offered, she sucks the energy out of a room like a backwards typhoon within seconds. (Nothing is left in the room â€“ not even the furniture. There it isâ€¦.you can see it bulging from her!) Often, this type of person couches the negativity within the realm of a joke – none the less sheâ€™s still an effective energy drainer. When you escape her you feel lucky to have made it out alive – You have to rush home to take a nap!
Venting Vicky likes to swoop in, dump her frustration all over anyone who will listen, and then go on her merry way. Venting Vicky needs an outlet for every minor annoyance, frustration, and issue, and if youâ€™re her target of the day, youâ€™re left feeling dumped on â€“ immersed in a puddle of doodle. (Just who was that who â€˜upchuckedâ€™ all over me?) Checking your clothing for stainsâ€¦â€¦. You need to rush home to take a shower!
Beatrice Blamer is constantly critical, demanding, and berating she blames everyone and everything when things go wrong. She doesnâ€™t take responsibility; rather, she deflects it. Beatrice Blamers create a negative, guilt-ridden environment. Itâ€™s usually them against the world, and youâ€™re left holding the bag â€“ dented and all bent up from the impact. You feel as if youâ€™ve been involved in a hit-and-run â€“ Swoosh! Bam! Thank you Maâ€™am! You have to go home and check for dents in your body and psyche! Sometimes the dents are so bad you have to seek the help of someone who can help you remove the dents – inflicting even more unproductive maintenance time upon you!
(Okayâ€¦I am ramblingâ€¦.) And youâ€™re frustrated and tired of dealing with these wasteful interactions and DPâ€¦..and â€“ if you are like me â€“ until you learn to handle them â€“ youâ€™ll always feel as though you need some type of cleansing after talking with them!
While the most effective strategy for dealing with some of these people is to eliminate them from your life, in many cases, thatâ€™s just not doable. You canâ€™t fire a coworker – distributor unless youâ€™re the boss in a formal business arrangement. You canâ€™t, or donâ€™t want to, cut off ties with your family and so youâ€™ve learned to put up with their negativityâ€¦ most often always to your detriment.
Too much negativity can be toxic. It drains you, frustrates you, and it does infect you whether you admit it or not. After being with Negative Nancy or Venting Vicky, you find yourself feeling negative; or you note you begin to vent to others. You get sucked into their world, their communication M.O. and your usually positive outlook starts getting dark â€“ you become skeptical and doubtful about things. Like Beatrice Blamer you walk away deflated, feeling as though the world has let you down again.
You may wonder why they have to be this way and find yourself constantly wishing they were more positive, happy, or sensitive to others. The truth is that asking why usually doesnâ€™t change much. Unless the answer allows you to be more acceptingâ€”to come to love their negativityâ€”knowing the â€œwhyâ€ doesnâ€™t solve your problem. You need to know how to avoid the slippery slope of getting sucked in, frustrated, annoyed, and negative.
What can you do to stop the downslide short of cutting them out of your life or being rude? Here are three proven strategies you can implement immediately.
1. The extinction strategyâ€¦. Make them dinosaurs- a thing of the past. Extinction simply means to stop meeting their needs. Once their needs arenâ€™t being met by you, theyâ€™ll move on to other ways of getting their needs met.
What attracts negative people to you is that you give them what they want or needâ€¦.. which is mostly your time. Not intentionally, of course. In fact, you are probably trying to be kind, patient, and friendly. But the truth is that if they werenâ€™t getting some need met by spewing their negativity all over you, they wouldnâ€™t be doing it. Negative people need one of two things from you. They are either looking for someone to commiserate with, or they want someone who will provide lots of cheerleading. Commiserating gives them affirmation. â€œYou can do itâ€ support gives them energy (by taking it from you).
Become a no whining zone. How? Simply refuse to engage. If youâ€™ve been caught up in the â€œAinâ€™t it awfuls,â€ itâ€™s time to stop. If youâ€™ve been relentlessly cheerleading, stop. Have a simple phrase that you can repeat in a â€œcharge-neutralâ€ tone (without anger, frustration, or reaction, as if you were saying something as simple as â€œthe sky is blueâ€), such as â€œisnâ€™t that interesting.â€ I like to say â€œHmmmmmmmmâ€ and simply smile at them (or, if itâ€™s on the phoneâ€¦.silence follows). Say nothing more, nothing less. After hearing that (and nothing else) three times, theyâ€™ll start to get the hint that youâ€™re not going there with them. Iâ€™ve noted DP actually become embarrassed when they realize they are complaining to you again â€“ they â€˜self learnâ€™ to shut themselves up fast!
2. Draw the time line – Set limits and boundaries. You canâ€™t afford to spend 20, 30, or more minutes listening to someone rattle on about everything thatâ€™s wrong in the world. Itâ€™s far too costly to your peace of mind and productivity ($). With Beatrice Blamers you need a zero tolerance policy. Get to a place where you simply wonâ€™t tolerate the rant (abuse). â€œI am sorry â€“ I have a meeting Iâ€™ve got to get to. Can we talk later?â€ With Negative Nancys or Venting Vickys, set a time limit, and stick to itâ€”somewhere between three to seven minutes, maximum. â€œHello, this is Joniâ€. â€œOh, hello Nancy .â€ â€œListen, I just have one minute before I have to run to an appointment â€“ Do you need something from me?â€ â€œNo? Well, then â€“ why donâ€™t you call back and weâ€™ll try to find time to chat.â€
Orâ€¦..Once Negative Nancy or Venting Vicky has hit the three-minute mark, cut off the conversation. If youâ€™re at a Glam N Gloss, say something like â€œI really have to get back to the training now.â€ If they continue (they will), be ready to get stronger. Stand up, create more space between you, and begin to move away. Say â€œIâ€™m going to get back to my customers now.â€ It can be easier on the phone. Make your â€œIâ€™ve got to goâ€ statement, and insist on hanging up within the minute.
3. Be unconditionally constructive and turn everything into a positive. You may have tried being positive, but positive doesnâ€™t work. When youâ€™re positive, you are trying to build the other person up (a form of cheerleading). This can be very draining because you are trying to move someone from extreme negativity to extreme satisfaction or happiness. Thatâ€™s like pushing a large rock uphill. Alternatively, when youâ€™re unconditionally constructive, youâ€™re helping the other person build something for himself.
Instead of saying â€œYou can do it! Hereâ€™s what I think you should do . . . ,â€ you could say â€œIâ€™d really like to hear how you solve that.â€ Or instead of saying â€œIâ€™m really tired of hearing your criticisms all the time,â€ you could say â€œIâ€™d enjoy hearing your ideas about what would work.â€ By consistently doing this, you can teach the person that you will only engage with them when they are unconditionally constructive, too. You only have room in your life for people willing to bring solutions, ideas, and energy.
These strategies can and do work as long as you are consistent and clear. If you waiver, the negative people in your life will sense the opening and pounce on you like a panther looking for a dance partner. You have to commit to it and stick with it. Expect that they will test you â€“ bobbing to and fro up and down & all around looking for new ways to infiltrate your space â€“ like finding an opening to a porthole. You will likely see an escalation of the negativity, drama, venting, or blaming at first â€“ as they are trying to break through a wall thatâ€™s been thrown up in their path. This is when holding strong to your time limits, charge-neutral tone, and higher standards is a must. Once youâ€™ve passed the test, usually after three to five incidents, youâ€™ll see dramatic change. If these people stay in your life â€“ you have got to teach them what forms of communication is acceptable to you and what forms are not. They will change or they will move on.
If they choose not to change, Beatrice Blamer or Negative Nancy will move on to other sources of energy. Venting Vicky will vent less or seek out a new dumping ground. And youâ€™ll feel lighter and more energetic. Most importantly, you will start to attract people just like youâ€”unconditionally constructive, with healthy limits and a passion for whatâ€™s possibleâ€¦.making more of your day, your relationships, and of your productivity.
Hope this helps youâ€¦..as it has me!
Carol Clifton – Lipsense Lip Color