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|Friday, December 17, 2010|
By Tom Cox
CEOs have to deal with difficult people all the time - and sometimes they themselves are the difficult ones. What are some proven ways to deal with difficult people?
How am I contributing?
The first thing Pamela recommends we do actively is to look at how each of us is contributing to the conflict -- any contribution at all, including having conflict-feeding beliefs or assumptions. This is a highly empowering tool because as soon as you see how you're contributing, you can immediately change it. You don't have to make others change, or wait for them to change.
When did I do that?
Another technique is to ask, "When did I ever do what they are doing?" When someone else takes the last drop of coffee and doesn't make a new pot - or drives too slowly in the fast lane - I ask whether I ever did anything similar, and why. When I realize I've done it too, I start to forgive them and they stop irritating me. If you can't go that far, then at least send a blessing. When you send the blessing you help keep your own head in a positive place.
Learn to Coach Conflict Resolution
When two of your subordinates are the ones in conflict, the most vital thing you as a manager can do is listen. And you need to listen much more deeply than you normally do.
When you listen in depth, it's much more than just about the words people are using. "It's never what people are saying - it's what's underneath." (See this article on listening or listen to the interview on listening.)
Contributing blogger Thomas B. Cox runs Cox Business Consulting, Inc. and is creator of the blog and web radio show Tom on Leadership, aimed at CEOs and business owners. He has worked with IBM, Oracle, Tektronix, ODOT, Intel and others.
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The Atkinson Graduate School of Management at Willamette University has maintained its business accreditation by AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.
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