I love this quote: “Fix it. If you can’t fix it, learn to live with it. If you can’t live with it, leave it.”
Hopefully, when dealing with everyday conflict in the workplace, we can come to a solution without resorting to ‘leaving it’.
It’s how we ‘fix it’ and ‘learn to live with it’ that most interests me – because tolerance is about having the capacity for endurance and keeping an open mind – something that is vital to succeed in business today.
Part of building tolerance and being inter-personally effective is being able to understand our own personality style and adapt to other people’s. Look for ways to adapt your communication techniques to better meet the needs of the other person.
The first steps to achieving communication objectives are to engage the other person and establish some common ground. Keep your focus on a positive outcome and remember empathy is a pre-requisite for effective inter-personal relationships and communication.
If you’re really struggling with a ‘difficult personality’, my advice is:
- Don’t take it personally or lose sleep over chronically difficult people.
- Realise they are doing the best they can – difficult people often have a limited range of behaviours and they use them because that’s what they know.
- Work with the behaviour, not the person. See difficult behaviour as a problem to be resolved, not a personality to be changed.
- Keep cool – patience is very important when you are on the verge of losing it; the stress involved in dealing with difficult behaviour can easily cause us to lose control of our emotions. Take a deep breath and count to ten. And if you’re really struggling, ask for a ‘comfort break’ to consider a different approach.