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Chapter 23. We're All Difficult Sometime... > Why Looking at Yourself Is So Import... - Pg. 245

We're All Difficult Sometimes--Are You Difficult oo Much? 245 Self-examination enables you to avoid the difficult-person vicious cycle. When you're difficult without knowing it, there is a tendency to view unpleasant situations as caused by someone else. That's because it's easier to see how another person is difficult--far easier than realizing you're also dif- ficult. From the Manager's Desk You can't succeed unless you work at it everyday. To get better, you need the help of other people. You can't improve in a vacuum. One of the keys to success is identifying how other people see you. So, let's say you're impatient and tend to interrupt people. Talking to George, you start finishing his sentences for him. That's annoying to George, and he starts raising his voice and ignoring you. You see that and figure, "Man, George is so difficult, I can't talk with this guy." And on and on it goes. This isn't a big deal in a short conversation, but this is someone you have to see five days a week, and it accumulates. Both you and George think it's the other person who's behaving badly. That's often how relationships are poisoned forever and how enemies are born. Many a relationship has spoiled from a lack of self-understanding and the natural human tendency to look at the other person as the source of the problem. So becoming aware of your own difficult behaviors and how they can trigger this vicious cycle can help you avoid escalation over time. That saves time, prevents arguments, and makes the workplace a happier place to be. There's another payoff from identifying your own difficult behaviors. This one is simple. Difficult behavior on your part interferes with getting your job done. Again, this applies particularly to man- agers, who need the help of other people to complete projects and tasks. If you turn people off, they stop working hard, or worse, they become indifferent or start sabotaging you. Few managers can withstand a situation where they have alienated a number of their staff or colleagues. If you do alienate people, you may be setting yourself up for career failure, the end of promotion possibilities, and a restricted paycheck. This Won't Work! Ever know someone who was shocked when his or her spouse left out of the blue? Ever know a manager who felt he or she knew everything, and didn't believe there was a need to find out the perceptions of others? Not knowing how people truly see you can yield quite surprising and horrifying results.