10 Minutes with Margaret Meloni
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Presented by Dr. Margaret Meloni, PMP
Dealing with Difficult People is a complete step-by-step guidance to working on and with the difficult people on your team to improve relationships.
It provides tools and techniques in dealing with difficult and toxic individuals. Working with difficult co-workers is a cause of low morale, decreased collaboration and slows down productivity. The lecture teaches you and your employees the skills of handling those toxic personalities and bad attitudes that are plaguing your office and bring some civility back to your workplace.
You will learn how to identify the various types of difficult behaviors that can damage your team. You will learn how to employ strategies for dealing with difficult co-workers and employees so that you can work together effectively.
The lecture also helps you identify the triggers that can cause you to become a difficult person. It helps you to control your own behavior, because ultimately, in any given situation you are the only person you can control and understand that other people’s behavior is not about you, it is about them.
The lecture has six regular modules and two bonus modules that will teach you to be more confident to deal with difficult people. You will also be able to integrate the concepts discussed into your daily work life. Become the best you can be at Dealing with Difficult People!
Until Next Time,
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM
President, OSP International LLC
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to this Free PDU Podcast sample. My name is Cornelius Fichtner. I am the host of the program. In the next 10 minutes or so, you are going to see a shortened version of an actual webinar taken from The PDU Podcast™ series.
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To find out more and order your full subscription to The PDU Podcast™, please go to www.pducast.com that’s p-d-u-c-a-s-t .com. And now here’s your sample webinar.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome back to Part 2 of dealing with difficult people. Let’s do a quick overview. Here we go. You are currently watching the Module 2, which we titled Quick Tips out of the six modules in this PM lecture.
[1:32] Learning Goals
Cornelius Fichtner: And here is once again Margaret taking us through the learning goals for this particular module.
Margaret Meloni: Great. Now we are going to discuss tips that should help in most situations with difficult people. We are going to talk about the merits of preparing for difficult encounters, why we should really listen to someone we consider to be difficult and why we should be flexible and remind ourselves to be objective and always allowing heated conversations and situations to cool down before we forge ahead.
Cornelius Fichtner: You said that this would be applicable in most situations. What situation then is it not applicable for?
Margaret Meloni: Well, what we are covering here is times when you can plan in advance. And you can’t always plan in advance. So these tips are geared more towards that and even so, sometimes there are people who don’t respond to feeling like they are being handled and that’s an aspect of their difficult personality is that they become mostly cantankerous and don’t like to feel like they are being handled or managed. So you know these tips may not work for people like that.
Cornelius Fichtner: Okay and talking about tips. I think next, we have some Let’s Talk Tips.
[02:50] Let’s Talk Tips – Tips #1-3
Margaret Meloni: Okay! Let’s talk tips. You know we can’t plan for every outburst. But there are times when you know you are going to face your difficult person. So when you do know, plan for it.
Many of us do just the opposite. We don’t think about the encounter or plan how to make it less difficult. We just wait until the last minute and then hope for the best. Or we become defensive and we act oddly or inappropriately, which immediately puts the other person on the defensive.
And you know that’s basically just like acting like an ostrich sticking its head in the sand. You know it’s coming up, get prepared. You create a project plan don’t you? This is like a people plan. Okay!
[03:30] Tip #4
Margaret Meloni: Consider this approach: Prepare for the conversation in advance. Identify what you hope to gain from the interaction and begin with this end in mind:
Assume positive results. I call it starting with an A. It works like this: At the beginning of a class as an instructor, I assume all my students are going to get an A and I tell them that. We all assume success together. Then I tell them what they need to do to keep that A. So I don’t give A’s away but I say, “Today, here we are together. You have an A. Here’s what you are going to do to keep it.” And most of them do.
So as you prepare for your encounter, assume that it’s going to be successful. Give yourself credit and assume that the person is going to work with you. Don’t get all tensed up and ready for a fight or ready to find difficulty in the first word or expression or posture of that person when you approach them.
[04:21] Q & A – Mental Exercises
Cornelius Fichtner: Is this similar to the mental exercises that many professional athletes go through? You know they review the race in advance. They go through the movements and they see themselves winning in the end. Is that the same idea?
Margaret Meloni: It is, absolutely, yes! And I’ll just say, consider this a relay or an athletic event where you have a partner or okay, pretend you’re at the park and you are in a three-legged race. You two are tied together and you only cross the finish line together. So you are preparing for how can I help us cross the finish line together.
[04:55] Let’s Talk Continued – Tips #5-6
Margaret Meloni: Alright! Let’s take a look at some more tips. Be flexible. Do not be so focused on your end goal that you cannot take a detour in the conversation because these detours, these might be what help you really understand the perspective of your difficult person and they might understand you better as well.
Remember you prepared. So you probably have some kind of agenda. Your difficult person didn’t necessarily have this advantage. So again, you want to not just stick to your way.
[05:27] Tip # 7
Margaret Meloni: Select the time that is convenient that is convenient for both of you. A time when you both can listen and exchange information freely without additional pressures or distractions.
So first thing in the morning when somebody gets to their desk, not smart. When somebody is trying to go home, not smart. So you know be courteous and find the time that works for both of you.
[05:49] Question – Words to Use
Cornelius Fichtner: In this regard, I mean at some point, you have to walk up to the difficult person and you have to say: “I’d like to meet with you to talk about X.” To me, this is a very, very stressful situation because you know these are the things that you don’t really bring out into the open and you really have to step over your shadow in a moment like this. So how do you phrase this when you walk up to that difficult person and you want to tell them: “Hey look, let’s meet. I want to talk to you.” What kind of words do you personally use?
[06:25] Answer – Words to Use
Margaret Meloni: Okay! Well a couple of things here. It can be a casual approach even though you’ve thought about it doesn’t mean you have to have a formal agenda and it doesn’t mean you had to put something on someone’s calendar even though I said be mindful what is a good time of day. So it might be that you come to me casually and approach me and start with some other conversation and then say: “Gosh, the other day, it seemed like we didn’t end on a positive note.” Or “I’m concerned that you were upset by belief,” whatever belief or action was, “can we talk about it?” so you can have a casual approach.
You can absolutely say, let’s put aside some formal time. I think if it becomes more formal, it’s very important not to show up with a piece of paper and say: “Here’s the agenda.” Because I don’t know, I would feel attacked.
Cornelius Fichtner: Ah, so don’t bring the agenda, okay.
Margaret Meloni: The agenda, I’m going to say is kind of in your head. Unless the two of you decided to sit down together and say: “We need the agenda to help us talk.” Sometimes an agenda can be a tool if two people are really having a hard time, but then you set it up together. I don’t want to come in and inflict my agenda on you.
[07:32] More Tips – Tip #8
Margaret Meloni: Okay, so, I’m asking you to listen. Really listen to what your difficult person is saying. And if they look at you and they say something like: I can’t do that.” Or “That won’t work.” Ask them why. Because whatever issue they are having, it’s not about you. And it’s not likely to really be insubordination. It’s the way some people think. They think with a block of “I can’t” first and then later, they’ll figure it out.
But sometimes when you are in a role especially as a project manager, you are thinking that they are refusing to do the work or they are refusing to meet the goal and they are not. They are blocked. So you want to try to get the real problem out in the open.
[08:13] Tips #9-11
Margaret Meloni: You want to maintain emotional objectivity. Remember, whatever is driving them to be difficult is of something that’s in them, something that is troubling them. You just happen to be standing there in front of them.
An individual who is upset might become defensive and verbally attack you. So stay calm. Take a deep breath and pause before responding.
Only address the business issue or the work-related matter because remember, that’s what you are there for. You are at the office.
[08:47] Q & A – Personal Issues
Cornelius Fichtner: So what do you do when somebody doesn’t follow in particular they are asked to when they’re bringing in personal issues into the discussion?
Margaret Meloni: Well it depends. I’m going to say whose personal issues are they? Their personal issues like: “I can’t concentrate now because I’m upset because we’ve had something happen in the family.” Because that’s an opportunity to try to show some compassion and not to push them too hard if they’re in a difficult spot.
If they are making it personal about you, it’s okay to let them know that you know that you’re not there to discuss that. And it depends. Is it personal about me? “I don’t like the way you dress. I don’t like the way you wear your hair.” That’s not their issue. If it’s personal: “Margaret, I don’t like your tone of voice when you talk to me.” I need to listen to that. So it depends on, I’ll say, what we’re calling personal.
[09:39] Q & A - Listening
Cornelius Fichtner: Let’s go back to bullet point one here: Listen, really listen. When do you know that you’ve listened enough and that you can move on to now the discussion part of this all?
Margaret Meloni: I see that’s good because that can be very difficult to assess. But when the person no longer has anything new to say and you’ve assured them that they’ve been heard and when you ask them questions and they don’t have any fresh answers.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright.
Margaret Meloni: But remember when they walk away, they may come back later with some more things that you need to listen to again.
Cornelius Fichtner: That makes sense. That makes sense. Alright.
Cornelius Fichtner: And that’s it for your Free PDU Podcast sample. Please stop by at www.pducast.com that’s p-d-u-c-a-s-t .com to order your full subscription to The PDU Podcast™ and start earning at least 1 PDU every month.
Until next time.
[End of presentation]