“This would be a great place to work if it weren’t for people!”
You hear this often; “This would be a great place to work if it weren’t for people!” There are a lot of wonderful people in the world, but it just takes one difficult and degrading person to make the workplace miserable.
Property management would be easy if it weren’t for the people, right? Yet if there were no people problems, they wouldn’t need us! This series of posts hopes to make these three important points:
- Problem and difficult people are why we exist. If there were no problems, there would be no job!
- Our mindset and assumptions about what a “problem person” is can make the job either miserable… or a satisfying challenge and joy.
- Those who know how to manage, motivate, redirect, and partner with difficult people will be the most successful in the apartment industry.
How to Recognize and Identify Difficult People…And Strategies for Successful Encounters
We’ve all met them – the individuals who drain our energy, test our patience, and leave us wondering, “What just happened?” These are the so-called “difficult people,” and navigating interactions with them can feel like traversing a mental minefield. But before we label someone as impossible, let’s delve into the traits that mark a difficult personality and equip ourselves with strategies for successful encounters.
• Negativity Brigade: They wear negativity like a second skin, constantly complaining, criticizing, and spreading pessimism. Be mindful of chronic grumblers and those who find fault in everything.
• The Aggressors: These individuals use intimidation, sarcasm, or hostility to dominate conversations and interactions. Watch for raised voices, accusatory language, and aggressive body language.
• The Manipulators: They weave webs of deceit, subtly influencing and controlling others through guilt, emotional appeals, or veiled threats. Be wary of individuals who play the victim, make exaggerated claims, or try to twist your words.
• The Brick Walls: Communication with them is like talking to a wall. They refuse to listen, dismiss, or interrupt others, and hold rigidly to their own agenda. Look for disengaged posture, lack of eye contact, and frequent interruptions.
• Maintain composure: Reacting to their behavior fuels the fire. Take deep breaths, remain calm, and project a neutral demeanor.
• Set boundaries: Clearly communicate your expectations and what you won’t tolerate. Be firm but respectful and avoid engaging in heated arguments.
• Empathy, not sympathy: Try to understand their perspective, but don’t let it excuse their behavior. Empathy allows you to navigate the situation without getting sucked into their emotional vortex.
• Focus on solutions: If appropriate, shift the conversation towards resolving the issue at hand. Suggest alternative solutions and work towards a common ground.
• Know when to walk away: Some encounters cannot be salvaged. If your well-being is at risk, disengage respectfully and limit your future interactions.
Remember, dealing with difficult people requires emotional intelligence and self-control. By recognizing their patterns, staying calm, and employing effective communication strategies, you can transform challenging encounters into opportunities for growth and resilience.
Bonus Kwik Tip: Not all difficult personalities are beyond reach. Sometimes, a genuine open-mindedness and a willingness to understand their underlying anxieties or frustrations can lead to a surprising transformation in the dynamic. After all, beneath the prickly exterior, there might be a person struggling with their own internal battles.
With awareness and effective strategies, navigating the world of difficult people can become less of a battle and more of a dance, one where both parties emerge with a newfound understanding and appreciation for the complexities of human interaction.