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Chapter 2. The Magical Manipulative Ways... > At Every Desk a Difficult Person (So... - Pg. 17

The Magical Manipulative Ways of the Difficult 17 From the Manager's Desk Think in terms of difficult behaviors, not difficult people. When you catch yourself labeling people as difficult, focus on the present, identify the specific things they are doing that are difficult, and go from there. Get the behavior-focus mind-set. People just aren't very consistent. They operate differently depending on the situation. So labeling a person as difficult doesn't help us solve the difficultness, because it's inaccurate. It doesn't help us figure out why someone is difficult on occasion, or when or under what circumstan- ces. And, if you are to make headway dealing with difficult people, you may need to know those things. Another reason it's important to focus on behavior is that the behavior is what we need to deal with. Dealing with difficult behavior requires keying our responses to what the person is doing at the moment, and our responses may vary depending on the nature of the behavior. Consider the fol- lowing: · If we can eliminate the difficult behavior, we no longer have a problem. · The only way we know someone is difficult is through his or her behavior. · The negative impact of difficult people comes from the way they behave. We get angry, frus- trated, and stressed out because of what difficult people do, not who they are or what they are. Focus on what people do, not who you think they are or how you label them. That will prepare you to deal more constructively with difficult behavior. At Every Desk a Difficult Person (Sometimes) Because it's true that almost no one is difficult all the time, we need to examine the flip side of the equation. Are there people who are never difficult, and who are always easy to get along with? Before we answer the question, let's identify why it is important. One of the keys to managing difficult people and awkward situations involves being prepared. That means when we are faced with difficult behavior, we respond quickly and effectively (based on the specific behavior) in a way that will reduce the impact of the difficult behavior. In other words, when we are prepared, we are less likely to act badly. We are less likely to make a mountain out of the molehill. We are less likely to escalate a difficult situation. This Won't Work!