Reading about Rob Ford on the weekend brought to mind all of the difficult people I have had to deal with in my career. Not as many as some I would imagine as I’ve spent most of my life out of the business mainstream but enough to know that it isn’t pretty.
Difficult personalities come in all stripes and flavours (perhaps in Ford’s case it is all shapes and sizes.)
- The boss or customer who moves the goal posts.
- The yeller or loud talker.
- The ones whose erratic behaviour makes it difficult to predict what’s next.
- The bully.
- The stonewaller.
- The perpetual critic.
The thing that is common to all of them is control. They seek to control a situation, to control you, and in this way get what they want because you’ll be to scared or terrified not to meet their needs.
Difficult people are that way because it works for them. They find what they get what they want by being difficult. For some reason, it’s a strategy that works, even over the long term.
What continually amazes me is how people put up with difficult people for so long. Why are we so slow to invalidate them, to get them out of the way? Why do we let ourselves be led by the Rob Fords of the world?
Charles for mayor! Just don’t go to the cottage on Pride Day.
When I’m Mayor, every day will be Pride Day.
Hey Mayor Chuck – how about creating a world that doesn’t have a ‘gay vs hetero” divide that requires a special event to make a point….a time where it’s just “humankind” without any regard for sexual preference/orientation?
Absolutely right. Pride Day will be preceded by Likes Blondes Day, and followed by Cougars Day. Once everyone has a day, we’ll all be happy.
Looking forward to the supplemental blog that advises us on how to deal with these difficult people.
In sports it is the retaliator, more often than the aggressor, who gets the penalty. How do you confront these volatile personalities – where the objective is to improve workflow – without lighting the fuse to the bomb?
Tough question, I know. Sorry to be difficult.
Oh oh. You’re catching on to my blog pattern. I better shake it up.
In business too it is usually the retaliator who gets in trouble. One reason why people don’t.
As to your question, I’m not sure I have an answer and will ponder this for later in the week.
As a side note, why did you photoshop the gigantic submarine sandwich out of the Honourable (scoff!) Mayor Ford’s picture?
You should enter a caption contest. Where’s the Beef?