How Do You Deal With a Difficult Person On Your Team Who…?

Do you have a team member who drives you crazy?

When I speak to groups, I enjoy Q&A sessions and often ask people to tell me about their biggest leadership challenges.

Invariably, many questions start with, “How do you deal with a person on your team who ____________(fill in the blank with difficult behavior)?”

Obviously, one of the most important Leadership Gift skills is the ability to get your work done through others even when their actions drive you crazy. We all encounter having to deal with difficult people at some time.

Here’s a Leadership Gift key to dealing with someone’s difficult behavior in your team or meeting:

When someone on your team presents you with difficult behavior, the first thing to do is to ask yourself this question:

“Is this person a traitor?”

Do this in order to get crystal clear about that person’s intention.

Is this teammate intending to drive you crazy and thus sabotage your work? Or does he or she actually intend well? It will make a big difference in how you feel and what you do when you have clarity about his or her intentions.

Consider your options. If you believe that the person is intending to harm to you and the team, but pretending to be on your team, then that is the classic definition of a traitor or saboteur.

If this is the case, then you owe it to yourself, to your team, and to your organization to expose the person’s intentions and get the person off your team and out of the company.

If you can’t expose the traitor’s intentions and get them off the team, then save yourself. Get yourself out of there. It’s professional self-sabotage to stay in a team where you believe one of the members is attempting to bring you down.

However, 99 percent of the time, when you ask yourself the question, “Is this person a traitor?” the answer is no.

An interesting thing can happen when you do this: you may experience compassion toward that person. You realize that the person is not intending to be difficult.

Thus, you are not dealing with a difficult person, just their difficult behavior. And difficult behavior is much easier to deal with than a difficult person – especially when the person has positive intentions.

Instead of being angry, you’ll be compassionate, calm, and thus much more creative in choosing how to move forward responsibly and productively.

Next, we’ll talk about what to do next.

Get Started With This 5-Minute Stretch

Think of a teammate who sometimes drives you crazy! Now ask yourself if he or she is an intentional traitor.

Don’t judge his results, but his intentions. Get clear about the intentions and let it completely sink in.

What does this clarity lead you to do or feel?

Leaders and coaches: Get Christopher’s best team building and leadership strategies collected over two-plus decades of solving teamwork problems for smart people. Attend the acclaimed Creating Results-Based Teams workshop, or get this FREE Special Report while it lasts: The Five Flawless Steps to Building a Strong Executive Leadership Team.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Collaboration, Leadership, Teamwork on 08/14/2013 01:26 am
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