Book: Working With Difficult People

working_with_difficult_people“Work With Difficult People: Handling the Ten Types of Problem People Without Losing Your Mind” By Amy Cooper Hakim and Muriel Solomon
  • Strategy for dealing with narcissist boss:
    • “Respect yourself. You can speak up without either cringing or bien insubordinate.”
    • “Clarify expectations. Don’t leave a conversation without fully understanding what is expected. Then, create a paper trail by recapping your conversation by email.”
    • “Highlight priorities. Stress what’s important to the company–getting assigned work completed and performed well.”
    • “Narcissists lack self-confidence, which is why they are so quick to turn on you if your actions will make them look bad. Emphasize your loyalty while standing your ground and you’ll be back on their good side in no time. Still, always keep one eye open due to their unpredictable nature.”
  • Strategy for dealing with bully boss:
    • “Practice confrontation at home. You want to appear firm, strong and unemotional–even if you’re shaking in your boots. Make a video of this practice run. Review it to perfect your content, tone, and body language.”
    • “Let Bullies vent their anger without interrupting them; then focus on their concerns. In a pleasant tone, pose questions to get them to disclose what’s really bugging them. They may be Bullies, but they’re human, so don’t be surprised if they react positively when you show concern for their feelings.”
    • “Bullies lose their power if you don’t cower. Deep down, they doubt they deserve your respect. They admire you for speaking with self-assurance and confidence. So when they bombard, don’t counterpunch. Win them over with your strong, firm, courteous demeanor.”
  • Strategy for dealing with ruthless monster boss:
    • “Try a shock treatment. Stand up for yourself by asking your boss to please sit down, looking him in the eye without blinking, and calmly stating that you wish to be treated with respect due another human being. Your unexpected action may get hi to see you as a person instead of as a punching bag.”
    • “Learn what recourse you have in your company. For instance, many organizations have anonymous hotlines for this very purpose. Your Human Resources professional can explain any grievance procedures. If your boss thinking his behavior may be tagged ‘unprofessional,’ he’ll want to do something to avoid getting in trouble. He very well may let up a little.”
    • “Anonymous feedback maybe better. If you have no grievance procedure, or are uncomfortable speaking with HR, write to the top boss. Point to high turnover, low morale, or other pervasive problems. Recommend better supervisory training. Propose a formalized system that enables workers to make suggestions to managers positioned above their immediate supervisors.”
  • Strategy for defuse the Raging Bull’s anger:
    • “Leave immediately if he starts throwing things. You have to protect yourself. Just say, ‘We’ll discuss this later.’ and soot.”
    • “Interrupt after the Raging Bull winds down. In a calm and friendly voice, keep repeating his name until he hears you.”
    • “Be prepared with practical suggestions to reduce the stress he’s feeling. Don’t analyze his behavior, just mention what you’ve observed. Discuss ways he might alter his job responsibilities or create more enjoyment. Let him know you want to lend support.”
    • “Encourage him to develop alliances. There’s less chances he’ll think of himself, or seen, as victim.”
    • “If the behavior continues, speak with your Human Resources professional and/or encourage him to seek professional counseling.”
    • “Raging Bulls needs to be controlled, not only for their own sakes, but also because their actions adversely affect the entire organization.”
  • Strategy for dealing with tacklers who attacks you personally:
    • “Continue your game plan. Don’t be sidelined by a groveling match.” … “Elevate the discussion by moving the emphasis away from individuals and back to the issue at hand.”
    • “Talk to here privately if she continues to tackle you. Say that you’d like to have a better relationship, and ask how she thinks you might be able to resolve your differences.”
    • “Determine through the grapevine whether the Tackler has company friends in high places. If so, an ongoing feud could hurt your chance to advance. It’s not worth the fuss. Concentrate on doing your job and making more friends.”
  • Strategy for dealing with cyberbullies who attacks through electronic means:
    • “Join forces with fellow victims. Vow that none of you will rise to the Cyberbully’s bait. Simply be united in declaring your disinterest in the Cyberbully’s electronic blackmail. Ban together to refute any false claims made on social media or through the company intranet.”
    • “Spell out the consequences. Tell the Cyberbully that you know what he’s doing and that you are going to report his behavior to the boss, Human Resources, and event the authorities, if necessary.”
    • “Keep electronic copies of all the lies and shared them, as needed. Go directly to your boss or HR with this information. Determine whether the police need to e involved. Act quickly and without pause.”
  • Strategy for dealing with enviers who are jealous of you:
    • “Keep your talks on a high and friendly level. Don’t let Enviers get you into an argument, especially not with others present.”
    • “Convey that each person’s effort is judged on its own merit. One’s work isn’t good because another’s is bad, or valuable because another’s is not valuable. Each person’s work stands as good or bad by itself.”
    • “Encourage Enviers. Help them define their personal goals and develop their own special skills and expertise. This will bolster their sense of self-worth.”
    • “Disarm Enviers with an honest compliment. Just when they’re all set to hate you, make them like you.”
  • Strategy for dealing with intimidators:
    • “Rehearse retorts at home. Unharried, you can come up with quick response you’ll make the next time your Intimidator strikes. Remember, you never have to give an instant answer. You can take your time or pick the part of his remarks that you care to reply to.”
    • “Record your practice session by taking a video.”
    • “Force yourself to appear poised and calm. Pretend you are unruffled even if you are momentarily intimidated. You can’t do anything about the thoughts the Intimidator has, but you cna decide which thoughts you will let yourself dwell on.”
    • “Psych yourself. Put emotional space between the Intimidator’s threats and your replies; for example, imagine yourself encased in a protective bubble that won’t permit any verbal attacks to penetrate. Until you learn to do this, put as much physical space as you can between yourself and the offender.”
    • “Know when to laugh it off. If you are new on the job and several coworkers are hazing you, ask a friendly colleague if the behavior is par for the course. If it is, though the pranks may be obnoxious, they’re harmless, simply meant as a fraternity initiation to see if you can ‘pass the test.'”
    • “Break the cycle–anger begets anger, and retaliation begets retaliation. Concentrate on your desired outcome to reinforce your resolve. You can be firm, forceful, and assertive without sounding mad.”
  • Strategy for dealing with ambushers who “attacks you under some cover, often disguising their jabs with jokes.”:
    • “Show that you won’t stand for being put down. Calmly and dispassionately indicate that you’re glad to discuss any legitimate criticism.”
    • “Keep your tone light and your message crystal clear. Let Ambushers know they can’t hide their hostility with humor. Then turn the table and needle them by asking them to be a little more specific; after tha, ask for a little more clarification, please. Reply factually without getting defensive.”
    • “Confront Ambushers in private. Try to get at the root of their hostility. Emphasize your goal of transparency. If they won’t tell you, then let them know that you know they’ve been attacking you, and ask them to stop. Look them directly in the eye, and use a friendly but no-nonsense tone.”
  • Strategy for dealing with hotheads who start arguments among coworkers:
    • “Review your management style. Be sure you aren’t rewarding non-performance. Involve your coworkers in ways htat will achieve your stated goals, and then reward expected performance consistently, across the team.” … “Establish your rules and periodically check yourself to see that you treat all your workers equitably.”
    • “Wait to discuss the problem. Don’t take a stand until your Hothead cools down. Just talk about the anger she’s feeling.”
    • “Work together to resolve the issue. Ask what she thinks would soothe her injured feelings. Listen carefully, without interrupting. Nod agreement whenever you honestly can. When you disagree, ask more questions.”
    • “Reuse to be a referee. When two squabbling workers each look to you to side with his or her case, decide whether the problem is in the system and is something you can correct. If, for instance, others are putting too much pressure on them, monitor the workflow and route complaints through your desk. If there’s a personality clash, insist they function as part of the team. Be firm in stating that you won’t tolerate interference with your standards, and warn them that if the disturbances continue, they’ll both be gone.”
    • “If subordinates threaten to quit unless you meet their demands, refuse to take the ultimatum. Tell them you believe they’re putting their interests above the company’s and you can no longer bank on their loyalty. Usually, however, you can take a soft approach that will protect your Hotheads’ self-image and help them deal effectively with their hostility.”
  • Strategy for dealing with revengers
    • “Clear up misconceptions. No matter how brilliantly you reason, agitated people can’t ‘hear’ you while they are highly emotional. Begin with probing questions to learn what these subordinates are thinking and, if they’re feeling revengeful, to find out why. Work with your subordinates to identify alternative way to handle touchy situations. Get them to express the likely consequences of each option.”
    • “Give honest, more frequent recognition. Explain how important your workers are to the company and how their individual roles fit into the total picture.”
    • “Express your appreciation immediately. As soon as the job is done, tell your workers you noticed how much they’ve improved. Regular, sincere praise goes a long way. When possible, praise in public. (Always criticize in private.)”
    • “Plan ahead when change will disrupt your workers. Before resentment has a chance to mushroom, take your people into your confidence. Ask them what problems they anticipate and what suggestions they have for handling them.”
    • “If Revengers are hostile, don’t fire off knee-jerk responses; allow them to release their anger.”
  • Strategy for dealing with quitters
    • “Conduct friendly, sincere, nonthreatening exit interviews.” … “Determine what is more important to these workers than a higher salary. Sometimes, Quitters are more candid when speaking with a Human Resources representative than with their ex-boss.”
    • “Decide what you’re willing to change.”
  • Strategy for dealing with dictators who micromanages everything
    • “Change your approach. Prepare what you’ll say, guided by your notes of the boss’s past responses. You can disagree pleasantly without saying, ‘You’re wrong.’ Instead of attacking your boss’s conclusions, go the it’s-in-your-best-interest route. You don’t want revenge; you want input and authority.”
    • “Appeal to the desire to appear professional. Coming across well among their own peer group and with higher-ups is important to Dictators. Emphasize and temper their insecurity. Help your boss look good, and you’ll look good.”
    • “Present your best ideas as directly or indirectly coming from your boss. You and your boss are a team. You’re working together. Build up the boss’s trust in you by asking for approval when your proposal wasn’t part of your delegated responsibility.”
    • “Keep your boss informed. Send regular email updates. When your boss gives you an order, present an outline of what you’ll do by when. Loss of control frightens Dictators, so you have to watch every little detail.”
  • Strategy for dealing with fame claimers
    • “Share the credit and gain a friend. Be willing to dole out some of the acclaim. Instead of complaining that you didn’t get recognition, acknowledge to the boss and everyone else around whatever you can legitimately say the boss taught you. Win the boss over by getting him to think of the two of you as a team.”
    • “Share problems and how you’re handling them.” … “You can ask his opinion without seek his permission.”
    • “Document your procedures and accomplishments. Send progress report emails to your boss and copy anyone who might possibly benefit from reading them. Creating an electronic ‘paper’ trail has several benefits: Many people become aware of your efforts, you get the credit you deserve, and, in addition, having this record will help you recall your feats during future negotiations.”
    • “To convert your boss from stealing your praises to singing your praises, keep telling him how much he’s helping you. Your boss needs an extra boost to satisfy his greed and need for recognition, but neither of you could achieve the success alone.”
  • Strategy for dealing with blockers who stop anything not invented here
    • “Carefully consider your approach. Remember that perfect timing is as important as the content of your message when trying to persuade a Blocker.”
    • Checklist for offering unsolicited ideas and proposals:
      • “Are you offering suggestions for the boss to consider rather than demanding changes? All you can hope for is that your idea will be considered; it’s the boss’s role to determine the value of the suggestion.”
      • “Do you give the boss a part in the development of your idea? Mention that this is an outgrowth of something he or she said last week, or that the idea came to you this morning when the boss was discussing the need to increase productivity. You get a boss to hear you by claiming to have heard the boss.”
      • “Before plunging in, do you ask if the boss has a few minutes to talk with you? If you don’t, you may catch your boss at a bad time. If you know you can garner peer support, and if the atmosphere at staff meetings is free and open, throw the question out to the rest of the group.”
      • “Before you talk, do you reduce your thoughts to paper? If you ramble, you’re wasting your boss’s time. Be crystal clear and sharpen the main points to be brought out.”
      • “Do you deal with drawbacks as well as benefits? This is especially important when it comes to spending time, money, and other resources. When preparing a proposal, pay close attention to whatever the boss is saying on the subject. Use questions to get your boss to restate a position. Expand your idea with ways to implement the boss’s position.”
      • “Can you defend your plan if it’s torn apart? As the boss is talking, make notes of what you consider to be legitimate objections. When you speak again, first answer the valid criticism, ignore the rest, and then continue with other positive points.”
      • “Did you do your homework? Is it possible this fantastic idea of yours was already considered and rejected? Is the regulation you want to change one that was initiated by your boss? Protect yourself. Ask what experience your boss has ad with this sort of thing. If he or she started the regulation, ask how conditions have changed and what might be needed now to meet these changes.”
      • “Do you ask the boss how long it will be before she might have a decision? Leave the door open by learning when to check back.”
      • “Do you give a new boss time to size up the operation? Refusing all suggestions from you and your colleagues may be an effort to appear confident when the boss doesn’t feel in command. Don’t say anything yet. You may no longer have a problem once new bosses get their bearings.
  • Strategy for dealing with moochers who “habitually borrow, with no evident intention of repaying.”
    • “Prepare a gentle refusal. Combine this by lending a different kind of support. Offer to help Moochers work out a budget they can live with.”
    • “Suggest a casual, self-service restaurant. Then, everyone pays their way, fair and square.”
    • “Grab the full-service restaurant check yourself. Figure out and announce what each person owes. The moochers will no longer be getting a free ride.”
    • “Speak up before everyone orders. If there are too many of you to request separate checks, proclaim that you’re on a budget. You’ll be treated with respect rather than disdain. You’ll probably also learn that the majority feel the way you do but were to embarrassed to say anything.”
  • Strategy for dealing with crushers who force their views on you
    • “Tactfully, but assertively, put your foot down when anyone tries to walk all over you. You can’t survive being trampled. Without divulging any emotion, stand up for yourself while showing the Crusher how you can help her get what she really wants.”
    • “When the fault is at least partially with the system, point this out to your boss. Suggest how restructuring might help. When you and a few coworkers each have your own turf but have to work on a joint activity for which the responsibility and the authority seems to overlap, suggest that a higher-level administrator direct the project.”
    • “When Crushers try to force through a procedure that jeopardizes your position, you can’t afford to let your authority be compromised. But you’d probably lose it if you locked horns. Stay calm as you observe their rule-or-ruin mentality. Then, coolly and cooperatively, suggest the professional approach.”
  • Strategy for dealing with knee-jerkers who are “unrealistically positive because they react without thinking through the consequences.”
    • “You and your colleagues have to stand up and speak out. Without being insulting, in a pleasant, nonaggresive manner, take turns at asking Knee-Jerkers to interpret what they’re saying and to explain in greater detail what, specifically, would be accomplished.”
    • “Press for details such as how their position compares with another’s. Without attacking their opinions, force them to define their views.”
    • “pay devil’s advocate. Offer others suggestions, and encourage your colleagues to do the same.”
  • Strategy for dealing with competitors
    • “Be professional and gracious. Give Competitors the respect and recognition they desperately seek. In a professional manner, show them you want to be friends even though they rebuff you. Allow them to feel important so that they won’t have to run you down in order to uplift their self-esteem.”
    • “Explain the value of synthesizing. The whole (resulting outcome) is greater than the sum of the parts, because when you share your thinking and extract the best thoughts fro each of you, you from a new and more valuable combination.”
    • “Be honorable in taking and giving credit. You want credit for your work, and Competitors should get credit for theirs. Don’t allow them to claim as their achievements your effort or joint efforts. Concentrate on running your own race, not on seek revenge with dirty tricks or backstabbing.”
  • Strategy for dealing with rule benders
    • “Reestablish universal rules and stick to them. If you play the game with different set of rules for certain players, you’re inviting poor morale, possible sabotage, and even outright mutiny.”
    • “Talk face-to-face with Rule Benders. Emphasize that a) noncompliance is a serious problem for them, spelling out the consequences; b) complying is the responsibility of Rule Benders, getting them to tell you the exact steps they’ll ake to change their pattern; and c) their behavior is the focus of the discussion–what’s acceptable and unacceptable. Praise what they do well, but don’t let them off the hook with claim that their ends justified their means.”
    • “Ask the Rule Benders to recap your meeting by email. This electronic paper trail ensure that you are on the same page and promotes accountability.”
    • “Follow up with regular feedback. Be specific with your criticism. Tell them what they are doing right and the steps they need to take to continue to improve. Be transparent in your messaging–no sugarcoating here.”
    • “Be consistent in applying your regulations and in expecting adherence. If procedures need to be modified, change them. If you give Rule Benders special privileges, you can expect other workers to feel there’s no use in trying. Any semblance of team spirit will evaporate.”
  • Strategy for dealing with clansmen who “exert power by banding together in a clique”
    • “Win over the ringleader. Ask for his help in very specific ways and then be extremely appreciative of such efforts. The more he feels he has your support, the less he needs to plan with his clan.”
    • “Strengthen the individual clansmen. Improve your internal communications. Provide your workers with frequent and rewarding opportunities to speak out, and bolster their individual confidence. Coach those who need help or encouragement.”
    • “Dissolve threatening cliques without mentioning it. Reassign members to unrelated tasks, more suited to individual capabilities and preferably requiring that the work be done in different locations. Have them report for work and go to lunch at different times, if possible.”
    • “Utilize cliques on projects requiring the joint effort of several people who work well together. This is especially helpful when you have to meet an urgent deadline.”
  • Strategy for dealing with commandants who order their peers around without authority.
    • “Give them the recognition they’re due. Publicly acknowledge their good work and privately point out specific ways to improve.”
    • “Give these rising stars every chance to shine. Assign them challenging jobs that look good on resume. Encourage them to tell you their ideas for special projects they want to develop.”
    • “Coach them on how to talk to people so that their words are well received. Spell out difference between being insultingly offensive and expressing enthusiasm in a positive way that get others excited too.”
    • “Enlist help from those complaining about a Commandant’s behavior. Suggest they use staff meetings to nail down the group problem of unclear lines of authority. Without anyone pointing a figure directly at the accused, the Commandant, too, will have his say but will definitely feel the group pressure. Your role will be to keep the fight polite.”
  • Strategy for dealing with hypocrites
    • “Ask questions that require direct answers. The boss probably doesn’t realize that she has wrong you or hurt you. When she spoke to you, it may have sounded definite to you and inconclusive to her. But, as a result, the great expectations she built you up for led to a letdown, and she was indeed insensitive to your feelings. Next time, smile as you ask if that’s a definite plan.”
    • “Protect yourself in the future. Don’t accept anything your boss tells you at face value until it’s confirmed in writing or announced before other people. Once you’re convinced the boss has made a definite deal with you, publicize it so that she’ll have difficulty baking out. Send an email to your boss that highlights your understanding of what’s to occur. Copy others who will be involved in any way.”
  • Strategy for dealing with weasels who “mislead you by breaking promises they hadn’t planned to keep in the first place.” or “gives you the assignment you asked for, but he doesn’t back up the responsibility with the necessary authority, resources, and other support.”
    • “Talk about the problem as his, not yours. Discuss your mutual goals and what is the most importance to your company, department, and unit. Remind him of the benefits he receives if he carries through on what he promised.”
    • “Make it easy for the boss to keep his promise. Assess what is needed and spell it out. Be considerate of your boss’s time and make as many of the preliminary arrangements as you can. Send an email recap to create an electronic paper trail and ensure accountability.”
    • “Tactfully reassure Weasel bosses that you’re going to help them where they want to go. They often have a problem letting go of anything under their control, believing if they themselves were handling it, they could do it better.”
  • Strategy for dealing with backpedalers who meant well at the time they gave their words and felt forced to retract because something changed
    • “Try to get a written commitment. Remember that unless you have an emailed confirmation or a signed official document, you can’t count on this Backpedaler to come through. Even then, he’ll probably find wiggle room.”
    • “Confront the Backpedaler calmly and professionally. Tactfully explain how you feel and that you expect to be notified of change in the plan that affect you. If you want to be treated with respect, not as a pawn to be moved as it pleases him, you have to insist the boss give you this courtesy.”
    • “When you work for Backpedalers, take an I’ll-believe-it-when-I-see-it attitude. They don’t mean to be mean, but they’re not going to let your feelings stand in their way.”
  • Strategy for dealing with forked tongues who “send you ambiguous, deliberately unclear, mixed messages.”
    • “Act as though the problem is with the system. Even if you think the whole project is so iffy that the boss is being vague so as not to have to take all the heat, give her the benefit of the doubt. Or, let her play here little games. Either way, you still need to help establish some communication ground rules.”
    • “Speak up now. Bottled frustration eventually explodes in an untimely outburst. Prepare your case and rehearse your talk from key word reminders. Pick a good time for an appointment with your boss to ‘discuss something important.'”
    • “Keep your talk friendly and impersonal. Don’t make accusations. Discuss your mutual concern for the company and offer procedural suggestions for the boss’s consideration.”
    • “When you think your bosses speak with a Forked Tongue, instead of trying to make them eat their words, feed them some ground rules for improved communication.”
  • Strategy for dealing with brain-pickers who “exploit your ideas, stealing credit for and profiting from them.”
    • “Plug the leak. Once you’ve determined who wants to drain your brain, be polite but tight-lipped. Just stop supplying the information.”
    • “Welcome discussion when concepts affect other units. You don’t want to work in a vacuum, not when you need the cooperation of others. But don’t limit yourself to a one-Brain-Picker audience. Enlarge the group. Call over other colleagues or bring up these matters at lunch or at staff meetings.”
    • “Include the boss by way of email. After dialogue with a Brain-Picker, share your ‘collaboration’ with the Brain-Picker, while copying the boss. Let the boss know you played a role before the Brain-Picker takes all the credit.”
  • Strategy for dealing with backstabbers
    • “Confront Backstabbers. Simply report what you heard. Don’t start swinging or you’ll make the problem worse. Ask them to spell out specifically whatever accusations they allegedly made. Speak up firmly, without showing any anger or voicing any blame.”
    • “If the mistake was yours, apologize immediately. Sometimes you become a victim of Backstabbers if they perceive you were insensitive to their feelings. For instance, if they believe that you meant to put them down by elevating yourself, you could have made them feel insecure, so they want to strike back at you.”
    • “Provide a graceful way out. Smile, but appear firm. If Backstabbers accuse you unjustly and then deny have made the reported statement, let them off the hook. Once they know that you know they’ve attacked your reputation and you won’t sit still for such immature behavior, Backstabbers will back off. But if you create an emotional scene, a tip-off that they got a rise out of you, they may keep it up.”
  • Strategy for dealing with underminers who “undercut your efforts and set you up to fail.”
    • “Prepare a crisp outline of the real facts. In clear, direct language, explain the facts of the situation. Take all emotional out of your response. If the damage wasn’t too serious, emailing the correction to your boss and copy the Underminer and everyone else involved may be sufficient to clear your good name. Act quickly and carefully.”
    • “When it’s serious, pay a visit to all the people you know with clout. If you have mentors, this is the time to get help. Share the forwarded message, along with your rebuttal. Ask their advice and get their help. Powerful people who work will behind the scenes generally know the diplomatic language to use that results in correcting misinformation. Whether or not you have other mentors, go in person to see your boss.”
  • Strategy for dealing with saboteurs who “are so upset with you that they resort to inflicting damage in your office”
    • “Have a polite, professional, and sensitive discussion. Disclose information this employee may not be aware of. Explain why the demand can’t be met. Ask why the request was made. Perhaps there’s another way to achieve the aim.”
    • “Give warnings and document them. This can avoid future charges of discrimination and also removes the need for protracted explanations. The conversation should be private to spare the offender humiliation. Send copies of emailed dialogue and hard-copy ‘evidence’ to your Human Resources professional.”
    • “Offer the chance to resign. If you can’t prove a criminal act, allowing the employee to resign rather than be fired is face-saving. The result is less animosity.”
    • “Practice prevention. Insist that the Saboteur leave at once. You don’t want any more damage done, such as inciting other employees or insulting patients. Doing the dismissal at the end of the workday reduces that risk. Then arrange to change all your locks and any online logins and passwords.”
  • Strategy for dealing with foxes, who are “out to outsmart you.”
    • “Plan more discussion when you give feedback. Throw them a challenge to find and fill gaps in the process.”
    • “Establish a better recognition system. Give them the credit they’ve earned. You may need to give more frequent rewards, after each step, or to tie accomplishments to financial incentives or paid time off.”
    • “Help workers move out of their one-specialty rut. Tie training to personal goals and ambitions. Give them time each day to brainstorm and to think creatively. Offer cross-training opportunities, so workers can learn more about different yet related jobs within the company.”
    • “Keep your people informed. Tell them what other departments are doing. Explain how their work fits into the total picture and why their efforts make a difference.”
    • “Reinforce positive behavior. State the problem; explain what the worker has to change in measurable terms; record progress on a spreadsheet; and praise good results.”
    • “People who try to outsmart you often feel like outsiders. Bridge the gap. They’ll stop playing tricks if you invite them in and let them be part of what’s going on.”
  • Strategy for dealing with bluffers who “conceal the truth or lie outright while giving you incomplete or wrong information.”
    • “Clarify instructions. You can eliminate a lot of bluffing and stealing by asking workers to restate assignment in their own words, to be sure they understand. Have them send this to you by email, so that you have a paper trail. Talk about concerns they may have. Shorten reporting periods with segmented deadline. Assure Bluffers who are also perfectionists that they’ll have time later to polish their masterpieces.”
    • “Devise a better feedback plan. Feedback should be more frequent, more specific, more helpful, and less threatening. With those you regard as irresponsible, keep the tone constructive instead of critical by concentrating on consequences rather than on threats.”
    • “Link individual performance to team morale. Act as though they’ve already developed a potential capability you’ve detected. Talk in terms of the value of their work to the whole team.”
  • Strategy for dealing with instigators who “say nasty things, twisting the truth to goad other workers, creating unnecessary problems.”
    • “Add excitement to reduce the mischief. Change jobs if workers are mismatched with their jobs, to inflate, rather than crush, the ego. When feasible, rotate jobs for the job and value of learning something new. Start healthy competition among your team with meaningful prizes. Discover the one thing a low-achiever desires (everyone wants something), and encourage the person to go after it.”
    • “Offer empathy to show your understanding. Let workers know you feel some affinity for their position because you were once in their shoes. Explore without trying to trap. Suggest training courses that could help them achieve personal goals. Enlarge the circle of people you listen to. Show your confidence in them by planning meetings, workshops, and informational sessions to garner their ideas.”
    • “Give them latitude with limits. Empower your employees by giving them the freedom to make certain decisions on their own. Explain why the company is moving in a given direction, then give them a chance to buy into your ideas. Let rebels become creative by designing a plan and implementing it once it has your approval. Share, delegate, and eliminate excessive micromanagement.”
  • Strategy for dealing with slave drivers
    • “Negotiate for a reasonable workload. Ask your boss to prioritize your present duties and reassign to others your less important ones. Matter-of-factly discuss the overwhelming pace, explaining that more time off is more important to you than overtime pay. (If more money were your goal, you’d ask how you could be compensated for your additional responsibilities.)”
    • “Suggest a way to any manager’s heart–show how to cut costs. It’s cheaper for companies to grant flexible benefits than to pay over time. This also works in the employee’s favor. In organizations compatible with working remotely, reducing workweek, and flextime, workers report satisfaction with their career change, even if they didn’t climb as fast as full-timer.”
    • “Make the case for a trial run. Ask for the chance to show that you can produce the same amount of work (or by working at home, how everything can be accomplished by working remotely). Plan for regular feedback on your job performance.”
    • “Allay the fear that you’re not there when needed. With today’s technology, you and the office can be in contact instantly. If there’s a serious problem on your day off, you’re willing to hold a videoconference or to come in.”
    • “Get your agreement in writing. This will help avoid misunderstandings or reneging on a promise. Offer to draft an email recap of your agreement. Copy any relevant party on the message.”
  • Strategy for dealing with connivers who “want everyone to believe they had no knowledge of that went wrong. They’re usually careful not to leave telltale of fingerprints or clues that could point back to them.”
    • “Appeal to the sense of fairness. Your boss hasn’t been losing any sleep thinking about you or how you are affected. He’s worried about protecting himself. Utilize questions to reveal to him the true situation, questions that penetrate to the core of the problem. if the discussion is not going the way you want, change the direction by asking more questions.”
    • “Make suggestions that will strengthen the boss’s position. It’s obviously very important to him that he be well regarded by his peers and superiors. Try harder to dig up information, refine it for his immediate use, and offer it tactfully. Help the boss become what he’s like everyone to believe he already is.”
    • “While driving you up the wall, Conniver bosses are similar to backseat drivers who refuse to take the wheel. Because they can’t tolerate being regarded as inept, they protect their self-image, probably unaware that they habitually blame others for making a wrong turn. Point out the benefits as you gently steer them toward accepting a challenge.”
  • Strategy for dealing with camouflagers who “have hidden agendas, telling half-truths and omitting necessary facts.”
    • “Forget long-range deals and broken promises. the leopard won’t change his spots. Any agreement on advancement that you reach with the camouflager has to be in writing and preferably witnessed. Don’t do what he asks because you expect the promised prize. Do it, if you can, because you want to be regarded as a reasonable, cooperative, and dependable worker.”
    • “Manage your manager. Suggest an alternative to your doing the task. Maybe a rush job can be divided among a few of you, or perhaps there’s a way to get an extension. Maybe by teaching someone else to do technical task, you could be unchained from your desk.”
    • “Sound like a team player even though you’re not playing the boss’s game. Don’t get angry or threaten or remind the boss that you’ve heard that song before. Play it cool, cheerful, and helpful. A pro pitches in without making deals whether acting as a doer, mobilizer, or encourager.”
  • Strategy for dealing with flatterers who “insincerely give you excessive praise in order to use you.”
    • “Maintain your objectivity. Take the flattering remarks with a grain of salt. If you’re being praised for a task that fell short, be gracious and appreciative, and then speak up on what is needed for improvement. If your relationship is cordial enough, make a joke out of the flattery and tease the Flatterer.”
    • “Get clear statement of desired results and individual roles. Research useful data the bosss can employ on deciding policy. Encourage group discussions from which better strategies and clear blueprint can emerge. A team that has a part in the planning is automatically more interested in the outcome. You can raise the morale of your group without being the boss.”
    • “A Flatterer boss gives you the chance to enhance your own leadership skills. Help your boss plan to stand on firmer ground so that he won’t have to rely on phony compliments to motivate the team.”
  • Strategy for dealing with imposers who “take unfair advantage of your time, talent, and good nature.”
    • “Remember that you don’t need a reason to refuse a request. Expressing your regret is sufficient. But if that sticks in your softhearted throat, sandwich your refusal between two compliments or helpful comments.”
    • “Practice firm response at home. Make a video of yourself and role-play rejections. Critique your performance to ensure that you come across in a calm and polite manner. Just because you think your colleague is being lazy or inconsiderate, that doesn’t give you the right to be rule.”
    • “Suggest more appropriate ways to deal with the problem. Consider how else the needs of the Imposer might be met in a more responsible fashion. Place that responsibility back where it belongs–on the Imposer–without showing signs of hostility or sarcasm.”
  • Strategy for dealing with duck and divers who “plan with you, then leave you holding the bag to face the consequences.”
    •  “Plan to negotiate. Decide in advance where you perceived the power lies among your peers and how much influence each of you has. What is that you want, and what are you willing to exchange for something they want?”
    • “Stay in control. When you want your concept to be presented as a joint effort, act rather than react. Send detailed plan to all involved by email. Receive confirmation by email from each contributor before moving forward. Decide how each of you will participate. If you alone are doing the speaking, introduce your follow planners before you start your talk. That way, no one can back out of the commitment.”
    • “Don’t float a shaky idea until you’ve organized a raft of support. Before presenting a joint proposal, prepare it in written form and get each participant’s approval by email.”
  • Strategy for dealing with operators who “convince you to do their bidding.”
    • “Ask a lot of questions. While Operators are clever and quick-witted, they’d rather deal with colleagues who don’t require protracted explanations. If your initial gut feeling is that the quest might be improper or unethical, it probably is.”
    • “Offer the proper kind of assistance. Don’t take on somebody else’s work or problem as your own. Acknowledge areas where they’ve been successful. Ask more questions to focus the Operator’s attention on acceptable alternatives that are available. Then they can work out their own problems.”
    • “Refuse future favors from Operators. The price you pay may be eternal subservience or worse.”
  • Strategy for dealing with bootlickers who “will say anything to get your attention and win your support. They use insincere compliments to try to get you to like them. They cling like parasites, getting others to do their work.”
    • “Ask yourself the right questions–not non-questions. Stop going around in circles, wondering what to do to avoid resentment. Ask questions for which there are answers, such as, ‘What soft skills should we be helping our employees develop?’ Adaptability and dependability are two of them.”
    • “Be firm and resolute when making assignments. Get to the point without a preamble. As long as you’re polite and reasonable, subordinates understand their survival depends upon doing what the boss asks. If, for instance, you need someone’s expertise at a given time, you make the decision based on a broader picture than the worker has. If the subordinate’s response is unexpected and you want to modify your request, instead of giving an instant reply, say you’ll get back to him or her a little later.”
    • “Build the Bootlicker’s confidence. Provide opportunities for them to develop in areas where they experienced success. Encourage discussion. Be there, but empower them to solve their own work problems. Give frequent feedback, sharing your view of how they come across and how they can improve and why they’d want to.”
    • “Teach Bootlickers the proper way to praise. Show by your own example how to compliment someone’s work, saying something specific about the performance rather than making a general comment about the person, and stating why you believe that was important. Develop a system for acknowledging good work both publicly and privately.”
    • “Be constructive when criticizing. Accentuate the positive; avoid threats, bribes, and comparisons with coworkers. Talk about why something angers you rather than accusing them of deliberately jeopardizing your operation.”
  • Strategy for dealing with snitchers “who tattle on their peers and spread malicious stories about them.”
    • “Teach tattletales to solve their own problems. In considering jealous backstabbing, ask yourself why they are trying to use you. Have you become the indirect means for deal with problem they refuse to face directly? Force subordinates to take responsibility for themselves. Don’t get caught in the infighting.”
    • “Determine whether you need to change procedures that might be encouraging tattletales. You don’t ahve to reveal your source when following up on some report that was given to you, such as a worker who’s having a problem or a customer who was dissatisfied.”
    • “Be alert for clues to potential patterns, problems, and changes. Go to lunch with your team often. Listen when your subordinates talk to each other. Stay tuned. you’ll unearth what’s really going on in your organization that you ought to be thinking about or planning for. When you’re at a team meeting, keep your ears open and watch to see who is talking to whom. chat with anyone who’s in touch with the many levels of your organization.”
  • Strategy for dealing with rumormongers “who spread unverified facts of questionable origin.”
    • “Keep your door open. Encourage constant contact with your people to hear what’s going on. Let Rumormongers come in and talk to you. You want to know about problems that can affect your operation before everybody else does.”
    • “Cut short discussions that are obviously meaningless and spiteful gossip. Stop meaningless gossip, and definitely do not participate in it. Respond in a disinterested, noncommittal manner.”
    • “Ask Rumormongers a lot of questions. Try to find out where the story originated and how reliable the information is. Determine whether this is a first- or seventh-hand account.”
    • “Check the facts. How much is true and how much has been distorted? What are the dangers of acting–or not acting–on this information immediately?”
  • Strategy for dealing with clods who “are insensitive, inconsiderate bosses who ride roughshod over your feelings.”
    • “Remain polite; don’t complete with the rudeness. When someone is being impolite (talk to someone during ‘your’ time, texting while you’re speaking, and so on), excuse yourself and leave, or at least offer to come back at another time.”
    • “Ask questions. This lets you know if the other person is listening to you and also rekindles her interest by getting her to express herself. To maintain that interest, keep your comments as succinct as possible.”
    • “Explain the problem in terms of the trouble it creates for the poss. You can’t come right out sand call your boss a coldhearted, mindless idiot, but you can show how it is to her advantage to have better communication with her people.”
    • “You won’t get respect until you expect it. When rude bosses bruise your ego, forget your fantasies about how to get even. Concentrate on being treated politely, with attention to your thinking and your feelings. Don’t sit still while bosses walk all over you. But don’t let them see you cry or you wont’ get the critical feedback that you need. You can always get up and leave. If you’re bypassed on essential information, ask for it. Start by respecting yourself.”
  • Strategy for dealing with ridiculers who “belittle you with taunting wit that scarcely covers their true intent.”
    • “Schedule a private meeting with the boss. Be up-front in admitting that you felt a little disturbed and want to clear the air. Do not criticize the boss for ridiculing you. Be professionally matter-of-fact so that you don’t sound like a crybaby.”
    • “Ask the boss to explain what she meant by the remarks. Open the door to receive good, constructive comments. Don’t be afraid to share why the approach you used worked for you in the past. Still, be receptive to new suggestions. listen and demonstrate a drive for continuous improvement.”
  • Strategy for dealing with condescenders who “patronize and talk down to you, doing you a favor to be with them.”
    • “Choose to dwell on how good and talented you are. Bosses can’t make you feel bad about yourself-worth unless you let them. In time, you won’t even hear the tactless comments. You’ll be too busy thinking and planning along with the boss for your next success.”
    • “Gently remind that boss you play a part in what he’s accomplishing. You want him to appreciate your trying, even if you don’t quite measure up to this excessive standards. Prepare your remarks in advance of your staff meeting. Use progress reports to deftly and delicately tell the boss how capable you are, quantifying the efforts you expended. Numbers make a greater impression than adjectives. Let everyone bask in the glory of the finished product or service.”
    • “Pay close attention to the office grapevine. An arrogant boss is an unlikely candidate for sharing the blame with you when tings go wrong. Keep on top of developments to avoid becoming the fall guy. Don’t wait for your problem to mushroom into a crisis. Ask early for the boss’s help, but wait until he asks before you suggests solutions.”
    • “The bosses’ condescending remarks will diminish in proportion to the amount of increased respect you are able to earn. They’re clever and conceited; you can be clever and considerate. Be ready with facts that you’ve double-and triple-checked for accuracy. Acknowledge that they’re the bosses, but when you do get the go-ahead, move quickly and confidently–and keep them informed.”
  • Strategy for dealing with interrupters
    • “Be polite when you do the interrupting. Smile, start with the person’s name, and couple your friendly tone with sensitive phrases. Be considerate even though your Interrupter is not.”
    • “Be straightforward in explaining why you can’t be interrupted now. People understand when you’re under pressure. Simply explain that you have deadline, a report to prepare, or pre-conference materials to gather. If you don’t have tiem to talk right then but want to continue, suggest a time that’s mutually convenient.”
    • “Snatch back control when your conversation is intercepted. Interrupt your Interrupter for a minute or two to finish making your point.”
    • “Stop the rambler with sharply focused comments and questions. Bring the discussion back to the stated purpose. Politely break in to summarize an Interrupter’s unending monologue.”
    • “Discourage Interrupters from coming in and staying in your office. Reposition your desk so that a passwerby can’t catch your eye. Limit the number of chairs and stack them with reports or books. Stand up when an Interrupter comes in, and remain standing.”
    • “don’t jump to repsond to every text or to answer every FaceTime call. Only treat as urgent those calls and texts that truly need your immediate attention. Respond to nonurgent messages when you have a break in your day.”
  • Strategy for dealing with left-handed complimenters who “start by praising you and end with a qualifying put-down.”
    • “Keep your cool and question the intent of the remark. When called to account for their inappropriate comments, Left-Handed Complimenters dusk for cover. They try to blame you for misinterpreting. But they are also less likely to pick on you now that they see you’re not so vulnerable as they had believed.”
    • “Dig a little deeper for an underlying cause. What you interpreted as a left-handed compliment may actually be coering hidden resentment or anger toward you. A pleasant confrontation may clear the air.”
    • “Divide the remark into two parts: praise and put-down. Accept with sincerity the compliment that pleased you. Correct or ignore the implied insult.”
  • Strategy for dealing with insulters
    • “Ask, then pay close attention to the answer. Conflict is positive and necessary when you’re getting an issue out in the open; it’s destructive when accompanied by inappropriate behavior.”
    • “Convince Insulters that they’ll benefit if they’re polite. Conversely, point out that they could damage their careers if they’re not.”
    • “Agree on boundaries you can both accept. Adopt a do-and-don’t policy. Talk it out. What actions and words are offensive to Insulters that you will now avoid? What method will Insulters substitute to react to your perceived offense?”
  • Strategy for dealing with free spirits who “are so candid that they seems tactless, disrespectful, and offensive.”
    • “Latch onto every opportunity. Listen carefully to what they Free Spirits say and you will find an opening to start a discussion. If you switch and rephrase your thoughts as question, you’re not jamming your feelings down their throats.”
    • “Call a meeting of your group to present your concern. Report comments you’ve heard from offended parties. Talk about your wish to help them advance by learning to speak less aggressively and with tmore dignity. Being courteous doesn’t rule out being friendly.”
    • “Together, decide on a goal. Make it one that best helps the company and its people. Draw out their thinking, letting each one have a chance to speak. Get their suggestions on how to implement changes that would accomplish the objectives.”
  • Strategy for dealing with snippy talkers who “make cutting, impertinent remarks”
    • “Reexamine your management style. Why doesn’t your subordinate feel free to talk to you about whatever is bugging him? Have you done something to discourage open communication? What’s he afraid of? What does he think is at risk if he is honest with you?”
    • “Put the subordinate at ease. Enable him to talk to you. Make direct eye contact. When he starts talking, just nod or say ‘I see’ to show you comprehend, but don’t interrupt him.”
    • “Ask questions. Together, as a team, probe deeper to get at the root of the problem or misunderstanding. If the focus shifts to something your subordinate hadn’t considered, and he needs a little more time, suggest meeting soon again.”
  • Strategy for dealing with defiers who “are insubordinate and disrespectfully oppose established policy.”
    • “Check your own attitude. When workers are defiant, ask yourself if you’re being open and playing fair. Do you request or command adherence? Are you explaining the importance of doing something a certain way? Do you turn mistakes into learning experiences for both of you? Do you resist dangling promises unless you’re sure you can keep them?”
    • “Get right to the point of your meeting.l Don’t beat around the bush or make small talk. Immediately put your subordinate at ease by expressing your desire to continue your working relationship.”
    • “Let defiant workers get the gripe off their chests. Listen carefully. Then bend where you can, but explain why certain procedures must be followed. In a calm, professional manner, ask them to explain why they deliberately disobeyed a directive. Get them to tell you the probable consequences of such actions. Ask them how they plan to deal with the situation.”
  • Strategy for dealing with needlers who “masquerading smart, sharp, stinging remarks as humor is one way to complain without being labeled an attacker.”
    • “Ask repeatedly for clarification. Using a variety of phrases, request that the Needler make his criticism clear by being more specific.”
    • “Shift the direction. Get Needlers to move away from jabbing at you and other people and start jabbing at issues. They maybe onto something important. maybe some changes are needed and the procedures have to be reexamined.”
    • “Talk privately. With a smile on your face, let Needlers know their ‘jokes’ didn’t accomplish their purpose. Then reassure them that their thinking is invaluable and that you and the rest of he team will be considering their suggestions in depth. Toss them a challenge–some additional problem they might start thinking about how to resolve.”
    • “Consider joking back. Maybe you should lighten up. Consider joking back or smiling silently to take away the Needler’s fun.”
    • “In trying to disguise criticism with humor, Needlers often miss the point. To win people over, critics should include themselves in the joke. Otherwise, the appar to be sneering or scolding, and that’s offensive. With that in mind, you can eat Needlers at their own game. Include yourself in discussing the problem. Also, don’t let Needlers see that they get under your skin. Once you start, in a playful, pleasant, and professional manner, the others will join you in needling the Needler.”
  • Strategy for dealing with talent wasters “who won’t use, or even consider using the ideas of those they supervise.”
    • “Do your homework. From old-timers, find out why the boss takes certain positions. Search for areas where, in the past, he’s been known to bend a little. Take the attitude that you’re doing your boss a favor by solving his problem.”
    • “Put yourself in the boss’s shoes. Figure out what he wants, what’s important to him. How could he benefit by availing himself of your strengths and releasing your energy?”
    • “Make and appointment with your boss. Say that you want to discuss an important issue. Stop bombarding him with ideas and tell him what you want. Instead, talk about how you can help him get what he needs. Seek common ground in a calm, low-key, professional manner. Know the financial and nonfinancial costs involved and how, specially, your idea helps the company.”
    • “Consider a short-term, incremental plan. Instead of asking the boss to risk total commitment or accept a radical change, aim for plan that would cause him the least amount of embarrassment or loss of esteem. Mention potential unwanted results if your plan isn’t adopted. Be specific.”
  • Strategy for dealing with brush-offs who are too busy “to answer your questions or supply what you need.”
    • “Punt–don’t confront. If you tell the boss he’s wrong, he has to defend his ego with a counterattack. So don’t even give the appearance of arguing with him. Often you can turn the ball over to the boss just by asking him his opinion or to make a choice.”
    • “Focus on the boss’s needs, not yours. You lose ground if you complain. Force yourself to totally ignore his curt manner, and talk instead about the options he has for enhancing his reputation or achieving his objectives. He’s more apt to help you if he views the action as helping himself. Your positive suggestions can light the way.”
    • “You look better when you help your boss look good. Egotistical bosses worry about the perception their supervisors and colleagues have about their professionalism. Give them ideas that they can claim as their own: ‘I thought about this yesterday when you were discussing cost-saving procedures….'”
  • Strategy for dealing with neglecters who “are indifferent to what is needed and uncaring about inconveniencing you.”
    • “First, determine whether the boss is simply forgetful. She may mean well but can’t seem to remember to do what she promised. If so, the boss will regard your asking her about whatever she was supposed to do as your way of expressing interest.”
    • “Try to extract a little direction. Even if it’s like pulling teeth, at least make the attempt.”
    • “Fill the leadership vaccum. If your boss neglects to point you in the right direction, move slowly on your own. Decide on a few measurable objectives. Achieve these and set a few more. But always keep your boss informed about what you’re doing. Show her your plan before you set your design in motion. Create a paper trail by sending your updates and reports by email.”
    • “Enjoy the freedom. many would give anything to be in your shoes. Act responsibly and conscientiously.”
    • “Establish your own self-protection practices. While Neglecters seem to ignore you, they can resent your doing well by ignoring them. Reduce to writing conversations in which bosses themselves either refuse to commit or tell you to do deeds they should be doing (‘Attached is a synopsis to be sure I understood you correctly.’) Copy relevant decision makers on progress report emails in order to maintain transparency and gain direction and support.”
  • Strategy for dealing with show-offs
    • “Keep still and observe. your confidence grows out of knowing what you do well and working on what you want to improve. You alone determine if you want to keep positive or negative thoughts in your head. No one can make you feel stupid except yourself. So don’t get into a bragging contest with a braggart, especially one whose office is decorated in Early Show-Off, with acclamations adoring each inch of wall space.”
    • “Deserve your boss’s confidence. prove yourself by your good performance. Learn the way the boss wants you to process assignments and report progress. Let him know if you anticipate trouble ahead, but don’t tell him how to resolve the problem unless he asks for your suggestions.”
    • “make your motto ‘Listen and learn’ when you’re working for a clever, conceited Show-Off boss. You needn’t bow down in the presence of intellectual royalty, but do remain open and ready to follow his lead.”
  • Strategy for dealing with one-uppers who “have to top whatever you say and go you one better.”
    • “Tease One-uppers in a light, friendly tone. Show sensitivity, even though they don’t, by gently interrupting the self-aggrandizement act. If you find yourself tempted to brag back, smile, excuse yourself, and take a seat on the other side of the room.”
    • “Give One-Uppers the recognition they’ve earned. Find specific areas in which they actually do excel. You’ll win their friendship and cooperation by bolstering them with sincere, genuine compliments.”
  • Strategy for dealing with know-it-alls who “are obnoxious extroverts who cram their opinions down your throat.”
    • “Listen carefully to formulate good questions. Don’t interrupt with counterarguments but with strong, solid questions. Ask, for example, how this compares, what results have been reported, over what period of time, or what resources are required.”
    • Do your own homework. Verify the information. If you think Know-It-Alls are wrong, present contradictory data in a matter-of-fact way. Don’t directly challenge their expertise, but suggest another way to view the situation.”
    • “Know-It-Alls are bright an usually right. On those occasions you’re sure they’re wrong, if you try a frontal attack or back them into a corner, Know-It-Alls will bombard you with a tone of irrelevant data to support their position. They consider any opposition a personal affront. The only way to quiet them is to offer them a gracious way to safe face.”
  • Strategy for dealing with smashers who “believe that by pushing you down, the elevate themselves.”
    • “Acknowledge their expertise. Give or share credit with Smashers for improving a poor situation. If you let them feel important, they’ll feel less need to tear you down. Be extra sensitive about soothing wooded egos. Then, if trouble erupts involving your team, they are more likely to come to you first before running to report it to the boss and others.”
    • “Keep abreast of what’s happening in the office. Meet often or have weekly lunches with smashers and your other peers. Establish and maintain good rapport. Discuss ways to cooperate and help each other.”
    • Find little ways to involve your colleagues. Whether it’s taking them into your confidence, asking for advice, requesting a small favor, or asking them to do a small segment of your project in return for your doing something for them, attempt to make them a small part of what you’re doing. Now they have vested interested your doing well.”
  • Strategy for dealing with empire builders with “their interest in others is limited to how well the others serve as a stepping-stone.”
    • “Applaud the Empire Builders’ talent for exciting the crowd. Use the Empire Builders’ strengths to generate enthusiasm for a new initiative or direction.”
    • “Set a limit on the Empire builders’ behavior. Decide exactly what you won’t tolerate. You an’t change the Empire Builders’ personalities, but you can change the way you interact with them.”
  • Strategy for dealing with prima donnas who “are self-entitled, temperamental workers, demanding that you give them special treatment.”
    • “Call their bluff. Stop acting intimidated and allowing the Prima Donnas to interfere with your operation. Whatever Prima Donnas have that you want, it’s better to do without it than to have them usurp your authority and destroy team morale.”
    • “Help them take ownership of their role within the team. Be friendly, but very firm, in insisting that your procedures be followed. Remind them that everyone is needed to meet the aggressive deadline. Enlist the support of the Prima Donnas’ peer to apply pressure on them to join in.”
    • “Recognize the game that Prima Donnas play. Like children who pout, stomp their feet, and throw tantrums, they use a variety of irritating techniques to wear you down and get their own way. You have to reinforce your rules and stick to them.”
  • Strategy for dealing with magnifiers who “blow minor tasks out of proportion to make themselves appear more important.”
    • “Differentiate between important tasks and busywork. Explain hat one should feel justifiable pride for achieving high standards where it is warranted, and no pride for wasting time on the unimportant. Until they learn the difference, avoid giving Magnifiers assignments that must be handled immediately.”
    • “Develop a rating code and deadlines. For example, use simple A, B, and C categories to indicate the time and effort required for different tasks. Make it clear that their designated tasks must be completed by the deadline date before working on anything else.
    • “Magnifiers insist on overstating and overemphasizing every little task they perform, to try to increase your perception of their importance. Such behavior indicates emotional immaturity and requires your firm hand.”
  • Strategy for dealing with put-offs
    • “Stop pushing. Lower your level of enthusiasm. Don’t expose your impatience or annoyance at the indecision. To counteract the guilt many Put-Offs feel about disappointing you, convey your desire to improve. Show you welcome their suggestions.”
    • “Make it easy for Put-Offs to level with you. Then you can help them deal painlessly with the real reason behind the stall. Gently probe with indirect questions. Aid in clarifying and prioritizing goals and objectives so that you both get a better understanding of what’s required. Suggest alternatives.”
    • “pick up on evasive terminology. Listen especially for qualifying words that hint at what’s causing the delay. Keep eye contact, listen to the speaker, and don’t interrupt. Concentrate on what isn’t said–facial expressions, gestures, tone, and tempo.”
    • “Tap into their most compelling desire. Go beyond what they need or want; search for what they long for and tie this to your proposal. Show that you main concern is for them rather than for yourself because you, uniquely, have just what they’re looking for.”
  • Strategy for dealing with helte-skelters who “have great difficulty meeting deadlines because of their flimsy, unstructured methods.”
    • “Prepare a time sheet. As an opener, show how long it’s been taking to handle crises. You can then discuss how these could be managed faster.”
    • “Suggest project management software. Explain that this allows you to see the status of projects and when they’re due.”
    • “Prepare charts for bosses who need hard-copy reminders. After the desired result is identified with a Gantt chart, approximate the time for each step and note to whom the work is assigned, all arranged in logical sequence with a realistic schedule. Or show a PERT chart. With vertical columns for weeks or months, break down assignments into critical subgoals by drawing a horizontal start-to-finish deadline for each specific task. Send updated charts regularly by email and post them in Google docs.”
    • “Request brief, regular weekly staff meetings. Meetings for just fifteen minutes will help everybody stay focused on goals and priorities, check progress, make adjustments, and delegate decision making to avoid deadline emergencies. For virtual teams and remote workers, regular weekly videoconferences can do the trick.”
  • Strategy for dealing with overcommitters
    • “Claim the problem as your own. When you sense the boss is stuck on the horns of a dilemma (‘Should I please the company or please my workers?’), remove one of the horns so that the boss no longer has to choose. Step forward and accept the problem as your responsibility.”
    • “Bring the priorities into focus. Assist in finding ways for the boss to do the right things. It’s possible to carry out a manager’s responsibility to the organization and, at the same time, lessen the anticipated negative impact upon subordinates. Study the situation, examine everyone’s needs, and then offer potential solutions. You can probably negotiate a win-win compromise.”
    • “Overcommitter bosses create dilemma for themselves when they take their eyes off their priorities and become overly concerned with pleasing the immediate world. You can best move them into action either by removing one side of the dilemma or by offering additional options that allow the boss to escape through the dilemma’s horns.”
  • Strategy for dealing with chameleons who “are changeable and indecisive, and they waver on their decisions.”
    • “Refine the content of information. Evne if the boss isn’t new to this job, fill him in on essential background data. But don’t give your boss more information about a subject than he needs to know in order to decide. Analyze, then summarize. Offer the boss suggested solutions instead of just dumping problems.”
    • “Negotiate the level of information. Does the boss really have to make all those decisions? Can he delegate responsibility to you for signing off on specified types of actions? In your discussion, maintain a calm manner in order to be more persuasive.”
    • “Monitor the flow of information. Keep close track of due dates for deliverables. Set reminders on Outlook or on yoru smartphone to flag your attention, well in advance of deadlines, about the status of your projects. If you dont’ wait until the last minute to check progress, you can usually avoid gridlock.”
    • “Bosses who vacillate can be bolstered by receiving clear, concise, pertinent information. They’re not supposed to be experts on everything. Recognize the areas where your boss needs additional support. Supply the vital information in a form that can be immediately utilized, and you’ll earn your boss’s trust.”
  • Strategy for dealing with socializers who “put off work while they chat with colleagues, post on social media, and ‘play’ online.”
    • “Spell out the importance of the task and the role they play. Let Socializers know the benefits to the company, department, and workers if the assignment is done well–and the consequences if it is not. Impress upon them that they control an essential factor in making it happen. Be sincere; no phony lines.”
    • “Limit your request to your immediate concern. Don’t ask for anything except the exat piece of work you need from them at this moment. Keep the focus and the discussion on that one item. Build grace periods into your original planning (for example, setting deadlines for their work the week before you actually need it) to allow for their delaying tactics.”
    • “Push politely without revealing panic. Control your temper and hide your annoyance. Be pleasant about asking for what you have to have, but don’t apologize for interrupting them. Act friendly and self-assured to win their confidence.”
    • “Ask them for their opinions. Help them to feel more involved, that they are truly a part of what is going on. You may hear ideas for change that could unblock a logjam or even improve results.”
    • “Tie together what you want with their particular longing or interest. As you chat, you’ll hear Socializers experess their desires (‘I wish I could…,’ ‘I wish that I had…’). Try to see a situation the way they see it, and suggest that finishing the task will help them achieve that desire.”
  • Strategy for dealing with perfectionists
    • “Help Perfectionists deal with reality. Organizations are limited in the amount of funds allocated and the time and staff assigned to certain projects. This is a hard lesson for all good workers to swallow, but Perfectionists choke on the limitation. If the company can’t afford a standard as high as one wants, this shouldn’t diminish the worker’s self-esteem.”
    • “Reassure them that not everything has to be perfect. Some projects have to be done posthaste, or an opportunity will be lost forever. Then the priority shifts from doing an excellent job at a normal pace to doing a good job quickly. If workers don’t produce geme with every try, it doesn’t mean they’re failures. Therefore , at times it’s not only all right to turn in certain things that can’t match expectations, it’s expected.”
    • “Help them with time management. Suggest that work can be broken down into smaller steps or stage. Perfectionists need to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, which they can get from checking more (and less complicated) completed tasks off their list. Explain that they’ll have more time for important projects if they shorten the time spent on the less significant ones.”
    • “Don’t confuse delaying Perfectionists with closet Perfectionists who, in a highly competitive climate, sneak their work home to enjoy the polishing process on their own time. Without the right encouragement from superiors, they may suffer from stress, but they pose no problem to you because they produce on time. Delaying Perfectionists, on the other hand, throw the rest of you off schedule. To move them more in sync with you and your peers, they need to feel they’re part of the team. So talk about them effort and team competition, and plan some team reward or celebration upon project completion.”
  • Strategy for dealing with dawdler who “waste time while you wait for their work in order to complete your own.”
    • “Ask for clarification of responsibilities. Request that your boss review deadlines and workflow patterns with the whole staff. The responsibility for handling nonperformance by fellow workers is with the boss, the appointing authority. If you keep covering up for Dawdlers, the real core of the problem can never be uprooted.”
    • “Help Dawdlers get organized without criticizing them. For assignments on which you are jointly involved, agree in advance on a reasonable amount of time needed. Discuss potential obstacles and how they can be met or skirted. Together, produce your task and deadline plans.”
    • “Teach Dawdlers to be punctual. Start without them, rather them hold up a group meeting for the chronically tardy. Plan appointments with them in your office. Their being late won’t bother you so much if you can continue working until they show up. Tell them an earlier time than you actually expect to start. Don’t throw your other appointments off because of Dawdlers. if there being late means you can’t finish with them, stop at the allotted time and reschedule.”
    • “First distinguish between the two basic classes of colleague Dawdlers–those who are late because of some fault within the system, and those who are habitually late with everything. The former need your help in suggesting procedural revisions. The latter’s irresponsible actions should be dealt with by their supervisors. In either case, you’re not helping your peers by covering up their bad habits or the organization’s bad system.”
  • Checklist for dealing with procrastinators
    • “Do you promote a fun, engaging work environment?”
    • “Do you establish a good emotional climate in which workers are challenged to learn and produce, and have time to think about trying innovative approaches?”
    • “Do you put procrastinators at ease, sensing that you identify with their needs?”
    • “Is your office a pleasant and friendly place?”
    • “Do you avoid humiliating workers publicly or clobbering them privately after each mistake, allowing them to save face?”
    • “Do you reinforce the procrastinators’ identity with their group through informal office get-togethers, events, and friendly competition?”
    • “Do you check that external factors don’t contribute to delays; disturbing noises; poor parking, lighting, and ventilation; wrong tools; malfunctioning equipment; and insufficient training?”
    • “Do you have enough staff so that you’re not expecting one person to supervise too many workers?”
    • “Are you certain your rules aren’t wrapped in red tape, overlapping or requiring endless steps to get permission to carry out tasks?”
    • “Do you make the objective, directions, and time frames absolutely clear?”
    • “Do you firmly enforce the deadlines you’ve set and make clear the consequences of nonperformance?”
    • “Do you act as though they’ve already developed a potential capability you’ve noticed?”
    • “Do you set standards, explaining how their jobs contribute to the total effort and what’s expected of them, and together prepare a list of responsibilities?”
    • “Do you reassure them of your confidence that they can perform well, and do you deliver honest praise when they do?”
    • “Do you discover your workers’ ego needs and help them feel important, tying training to personal ambition as well as the actual job problem?”
    • “Do you keep your workers informed?”
    • “Do you provide adequate training?”
    • “Do you have plan in place that allows subordinates’ ideas to bubble up to the top?”
    • “Do you tie incentives to performance, celebrating real accomplishments such as topping a previous record or introducing a new system?”
    • “Do you show workers how to break up their jobs into logical parts?”
    • “Have you designed a system to reward completion of major stage of a project?”
    • “Do you display charts to graphically show status, improvement, and comparison of results among units?”
    • “Do you have a system for rewarding workers with recognition events, additional training, raises, and promotions?”
  • Strategy for dealing with clock-watchers who “try to get away without working. their attitude says, ‘it’s not may job.'”
    • “Look first at your instructions. What’s crystal clear to you can be blurred confusion to your subordinates. Be sure you’ve spelled out specific objectives and deadlines.”
    • “Ask what’s wrong instead of accusing. Give Clock-Watchers the chance to talk. Ask for their opinions and suggestions, and say that you’ll consider them.That doesn’t mean you’ll use their ideas, but that you will think about using them.”
    • “Begin a program of pride in the company, department, or job. Implement a comprehensive approach including individual involvement, such as discussion groups or quality circles, team competition, recognition system, and better channeling of internal and external communications. Seek subordinates’ ideas and empower them to make some of the decisions affecting the outcome of their tasks.”
    • “Create challenge, excitement, and fun. To make room for the spontaneous, eliminate extraneous regulations that tie workers down. Utilize their untapped potential. Not using their potential wastes a valuable resource and can be a root cause of workers dissatisfaction. Let subordinates learn something new by attending workshops, seminars, conferences, and training programs.”
    • “Don’t nag. Learn why procrastinators drag behind. many Clock-Watchers aspire to go higher. They’re competent enough but are frustrated because they are hog-tied or unchallenged. They feel stuck on the job that doesn’t fit their ambitions and needs. If you’re considering a development program for them, be sure other workers don’t perceive this as a reward (as in ‘I work fast and got loaded down with his unfinished work. He works slowly and gets more training!’). Plan learning opportunities and job rotation as part of the broad picture, after getting input from the entire staff.”
  • Strategy for dealing with duds who “cause delays because they don’t do, or have to redo, their work.”
    • “Concentrate on resolving the problem. Forget about figure out the workers’ motives. You’ll get further with kindness, such as asking when something will be ready, rather than demanding it be done by a stated time.”
    • “Clarify your instructions. Review returned work point by point in a nonjudgmental way. Reassure fearful Duds that it’s important to ask for help as soon as it’s needed, and inform careless Duds precisely what you expect.”
    • “Discuss the consequences. Ask what they think happens when a project is delayed and why they believe they’re always late. Explain what can result from the problem Duds have to understand why and how this difficult situation affects both the company and them personally. They also need to know that your intention is to help them improve.”
    • “Work out new procedures together. Encourage Duds to feel free to suggest or contest. You can reject an idea without rejecting their participation.l”
    • “Be consistent. Deliver both praise for good performance and promised consequences for poor work.”
  • Strategy for dealing with Rebels who “use delaying tactics to get even with you.”
    • “Blame the system. Shifting the blame away from them let Rebels save face and gives them an opening to express themselves. Explain the situation as it appeared to you, and why you consider it a problem. Listen to the response without interrupting”
    • “Ask questions. Put aside threats and attacks. Successful probing them to be open and candid with you in a private discussion. In effect, give them permission to unleash their hostility toward you.”
    • “Express agreement whenever possible. Without getting defensive, you can state firmly that you wont’ allow the operation to be jeopardized. Help them understand why they procrastinate. Together, identify potential ways to handle the situation.”
    • “Don’t assume that workers who didn’t criticize openly aren’t critical. However, if you give Rebels a chance to clear the air and let them have a say in decisions affecting their responsibilities, most of them will be glad to get back to work.”
  • Strategy for dealing with comma counters who “are stubbornly pedantic, demanding perfection in the insignificant.”
    • “Learn the history. maybe your boss has been burned before on that issue. If so, let him know that you know he’s had some experience with this. Express empathy for his needs and concern for how your boss, personally, would be affected if the current practice is continued.”
    • “Present authoritative evidence whenever possible. This is especially important if the boss believes you’re asking him to put his reputation on the line. Stress the benefit that will be important to him and your organization, showing why the risk is minimal and how the changes also benefit the boss emotionally.”
    • “Scale down your request. Keep the change and costs to a minimum. Talk about taking smaller steps over shorter periods of time.”
  • Strategy for dealing with inflexibles who “are iron-willed bosses who won’t listen and who stick tenaciously to their own ideas.”
    • “Gain insight by pretending. If I were the boss, what would I want? Understand where the boss is coming from. In presenting your ideas, focus on management’s concerns. Explain how your proposal meets the objectives the boss is always talking about. Point up probable consequences if the idea is not accepted.”
    • “Explain the mutual benefits. Explain the benefits not only for the boss and the company but also to you. Let the boss see how eager you are for the plan to work, and what you’re willing to give up to make it work (working longer hours, for example). How your willingness to knock yourself out to make it succeed.”
    • “Acknowledge costs and obstacles. if applicable, prepare a budget and list staffing suggestions. Explain how you’d overcome anticipated roadblocks. Be straightforward, displaying a confidence you may not yet feel.”
    • “Go in the back door by creating the market. Begin by documenting demand, asking opinions from those who’d be using your product or service. When users become caught up with your idea, suggest how they can help you persuade your boss to bring it about.”
    • “if your boss won’t bend, reshape your request and repeat it. People refuse for one reason and agree for another. When bosses are determined to maintain the status quo by practicing thought control, help change their minds by pulling with them instead of against them. Tap into the potential of product or service users by getting them to change the boss’s mind for you. Although you’ve violated no rule, should your boss accuse you of being aggressive, apologize. it’s easier to say you’re sorry afterward than to get permission from an iron-willed autocrat beforehand.”
  • Strategy for dealing with pigheads who “hold to a course of action blindly, stupidly, and stubbornly.”
    • “Present a substitute to the boss’s plan. Get new ideas from mentors, networks, seminars, or an online search, then ask the boss again. If you don’t have time to prepare a full counterplan, you can still better the odds for success. Slip some sound suggestions into the boss’s obnoxious order.”
    • “Attempt to solve the boss’s problem. Before you present your idea, ask yourself how it would help cope with cutting costs, increasing sales, or minimizing mistakes.l Most bosses follow the ‘What’s in it for me?’ principle, so show him, specifically, how your solution helps him.”
    • “Add an emotional appeal. link your idea to a personal longing. Do you think the boss wants to feel more secure, get more recognition, have more free time, or find a stage to show off some skill?”
    • “Act as though you expect acceptance. Your boss is more apt to agree if you anticipate agreement rather than hostility. Positive expectations encourage positive responses. Attribute to the boss traits he’d like others to think he has.”
    • “If the boss won’t budge, obey the order precisely. Don’t criticize, but do get the order in writing to protect yourself. Create an electronic paper trail. Document all your actions to show you were following the boss’s orders. If you’re lucky, your bullheaded boss could eventually get kicked out or transferred. If not, you’ve continued to do good work, armed against unfair accusations.”
  • Strategy for dealing with Killjoys who “give you moral or official reasons why it’s wrong to enjoy the work.”
    • “Be a friend. Their rigid behavior makes you want to isolate them. Your isolating them makes them more rigid. Break the cycle. Be willing to be good listener, a sponge that sops up the anger and hut that spills out.”
    • “Help them find answers. Ask questions that get them to identify their viable alternatives for resolving their difficulty. Help the Killjoys get back on course.”
    • “Use laughter and gentle teasing. laugh, not on the derision but in amusement, at their solemnity and rigidity. Play back their words. It’s easier for them to say you misunderstood them than tot admit they’re wrong.”
  • Strategy for dealing with chapter and versers who “know–and quote–every company rule and regulation.”
    • “Get them to go beyond what is to what might be. Only when you do this will their droning stop and your mutual resentment dissipate.”
    • “Appeal to Chapter and Versers’ self-image. Talk about the way they see themselves, as the organized, efficient group’s memory.”
  • Strategy for dealing with stiff-necks who “are inflexible, arrogant coworkers who say they always did it this way and they always will.”
    • “Stick to the issue. Raise the level of discussion when it sinks to personal attacks. Sooth the wounded feelings of Stiff-necks who take the disagreement as an insult to themselves.”
    • “Let the Stiff-Necks salvage their pride. let them save face so that they can change their minds. Give them a gracious way out.”
    • “Sometimes it’s necessary to gently massage the Stiff-Necks to get them to act cooperatively. The cling to the status quo because it makes them feel secure. Let them feel that you respect their opinions and that they have a part in moving the group from the old position.”
  • Strategy for dealing with silent screwups who “need help but are too proud or stubborn to ask.”
    • “Be clear about your expectations. Demonstrate your patience and reasonableness in anticipating their growth, along with being ready, willing, and able to help. Assign tasks that can develop their weak skills or increase their learning experience. Role-play situations they find difficult to handle. Suggest online tutorials and other self-improvement resources. Increase the frequency of your feedback.”
    • “Be sure your instructions are crystal clear. Supplement your verbal orders with written instructions. Include deadlines for every step, exceptions to the rule, who or where to turn to for help, what equipment or data to use, and how to report the progress. Have them send you a recap email to ensure understanding and to promote accountability.”
    • “Help the Silent Screwups accept responsibility. Encourage their coming in early for help, but when they do, stretch their minds. Instead of telling them what do, ask for their idea on how to resolve the problem.”
  • Strategy for dealing with stubborn mules who “are rigid sticklers for following agreements–overdoing their preciseness.”
    • “Find a time to talk privately. The best time is probably after everyone else has left the office.”
    • “Ask probing questions. Be calm, cool, and collected. Learn why the workers is being difficult. Often, being annoyed, angry, or frightened can lead to this obstinate behavior. Get the criticism to surface so that you can deal with troublesome perceptions.”
    • “Reexamine your procedure. maybe you should have offered training before starting the new routine. Possibly the personal as well as organizational benefits were never explained to the Stubborn Mule.”
    • “Gently tease. poke a little fun at yourself if you joke about rigidity. Don’t tease only the rigid person.”
  • Strategy for dealing with clingers who “commit themselves to inadequately thought-out idea and won’t let go.”
    • “Be consistent in what you expect. If some subordinates tend to oversimplify the problem and get themselves in positions they can’t back out of, you may need to be firm. Demand that they first clearly define the problem and ask enough questions to spell out the many facets of the issues. If they learn to look before they leap, there will be less clinging to hastily and poorly conceived ideas.”
    • “Discuss consequences in advance. They can’t learn to be responsible if you assume their obligations and bail them out of difficulties. Talk about worst-case scenarios and ask the Clingers what they would ‘if…’ get them to include their planning ways to avoid trouble spots or overcome obstacles. This will free them from stubbornly holding on to a bad call out of pride or embarrassment.”
    • “Shift the focus. Move from harping on what they’re doing wrong to what is needed to improve themselves. Convey an understanding and trusting tone.”
  • Strategy for dealing with icebergs who “are unsociable, aloof and uninterested in exchanging thoughts.”
    • “Find some way to help your boss and thereby help yourself. You don’t have to become best friends; you just want to feel friendly toward you. What do most boss need? More time, less work, and good news.”
    • “Look for time-savers. In your own little niche, go over every step that involves the boss. Can you make your email more succinct? Can you quantify and qualify data so that it’s easier for the boss to utilize the information?”
    • “Look for work-savers. Is there some task you could offer to take over because it really doesn’t require the boss’s high-level decision making? Are there items that can be combined for an easier and sharper review by the boss? Remember that some unsociable people prefer texts and email to in-person dialogue. Try communicating these worker-savers this way, and see if the boss is more receptive.”
    • Look for morale boosters–yours and the boss’s. Accept your boss the way he is without taking his aloofness as a personal affront. Keep your fingers on the office pulse. If you’re not getting the latest news from the boss, get it from the grapevine. Recount to your boss positive reactions you’ve observed. Study your professional or trade journals to extract and report encouraging signs or trends.”
    • “You have pay the price to melt the ice. Exert more effort to meet whatever it is the boss needs to develop mutual understanding and respect. When Iceberg bosses play their cards close to their vest and refuse to deal you in their plans, your move is to earn their trust and make them your friends. Unless you win their confidence, the Icebergs’ frigidity will keep you at a distance.”
  • Strategy for dealing with clams who “are unresponsive and refuse to tell you why they’re silent.”
    • “Use questions to pry the Clam open. Avoid queries that can be answered with a yes or no nod. Without pressuring, ask open-ended questions. Go after detailed, specific information.”
    • “Don’t move a muscle until the Clam responds. Look directly at the boss, ask your question, then wait, smiling–without uttering another word–until you get a reply. Turn the tables and use the silence to your advantage. Don’t rush your Clam, who may be deep in thought, weighting your words before reaching a decision.”
    • “Use body language as encouragement. Nod to show active listening, but let the Clam talk.”
    • “Acknowledge the boss’s authority–don’t threaten it. Present your ideas as considerations, than ask the boss how to proceed.”
  • Strategy for dealing with evaders who “won’t discuss issues because they dislike and avoid confrontations.”
    • “Make an appointment with your boss. Don’t go into any detail. Just schedule ten minute of the boss’s time. You can’t keep avoiding each other or dismissing the act that you’re not communicating.”
    • “Get directly to the point of the meeting. After expressing your desire to attain your mutual objectives, state what you are sensing. Be frank but friendly, and be very careful not to show any signs of annoyance.”
    • “Send an email clearly stating what you plan to do. If you still get no answer, and upon hearing no objection, do it. move slowly. If you’re not stopped, move a little more, but keep your boss informed. (Of course, if your boss objects, you’ll stop.l But at least you get your Evaders to give you some direction.)”
  • Strategy for dealing with skeptics who “are suspicious. They look for some proof before opening up to you.”
    • “Supply evidence of your good faith. let your good idea become ‘ours’ rather than ‘mine.’ Report to Skeptics useful news they may not have heard. When you finish your work early, offer to help them.”
    • “Be up-front. Explain the mutual benefits more carefully, but don’t hide the obstacles. make a promise and keep it. Inspire confidence by your reassuring attitude.”
    • “Nudge, don’t push. Be willing to move slowly and gently instead of aggressively. Be sincere and honest in expressing compliments and appreciation.”
  • Strategy for dealing with withholders who “hold back from telling you the information you need.”
    • “Soothe wounded egos. Couch your request more tactfully. Be more generous with warranted praise and appreciation. Send a group email, sincerely praising the Withholder.”
    • “Come in the side door. When Withholders won’t answer your direct request, ask them to confirm your conclusions or the limited facts you were able to gather. Admit your ignorance and ask them to fill you in. Inquire how they would go about tackling your problem.”
  • Strategy for dealing with glarer-starter who “silently express their anger through fixed, hostile looks.”
    • “Offer an olive branch. Show you want to make peace by trying to get the problem out in the open where it can be resolved. Suggest a neutral setting, maybe meeting for lunch.”
    • “Be quietly persistent. If your friendship offer is refused, try again. Keep trying, until eventually the Glarer-Starers reveal what’s bothering them. Keep in mind that texts or emails might be better received than in-person requests.”
    • “Prepare for the next controversy. Discuss how you both want to handle disagreement in the future. Take ownership for the roles that you both play in effective communication. “
  • Strategy for dealing with grinners who “won’t voice objections; they hide behind a grin when provoked.”
    • “Enable the Grinners to come to you. When a problem comes up, show you are listening and more concerned with how the work is affected than with verbally thrashing the workers for having the problem. Cool off first if you’re angry. Then you can deal with the issue tactfully and directly.”
    • “Ask open-ended questions. Queries than can e answered with a ‘yes’ or n’no’ stop or discourage discussion. Instead, choose questions that devle into what the Grinners are thinking and feeling, to get a better understanding of their unresponsiveness.”
    • “Be still and wait for the reply. Don’t fill the void; don’t keep talking to stop the silence. Wait patiently showing no irritation, until yo get a response.”
  • Strategy for dealing with worrywarts who “fool themselves into believing that no feedback from the boss is good news.”
    • “Recognize the impact of feedback. Constant, consistent, constructive feedback is the most important thing your workers need. To withhold it is cruel and uncalled-for-punishment, fostering anxiety and fear of asking what’s in store for them. Letting tears emails and text substitute for a give-and-take conversation leaves employees longing and frustrated. Remember that tone and inflection can be easily misinterpreted through a text message or email.”
    • “Expand the direction of feedback. Add to your downward, one-way information an upward flow to another true, two-way communication. To reduce anxiety, anger, or resentment, draw out employee thinking and feelings with open-ended questions. Explain changes that are about to be made.”
    • “Focus on what you and your workers have in common. Talk about getting the job done. let them express what they believe they should be contributing and be held accountable for. This probably differs from your perception, but it provides a basis for working out your differences. A little flexibility on your start can help bring about their acceptance when your way overrules.”
  • Strategy for dealing with tongue-tieds who “can’t seems to verbalize their thoughts.”
    • “Encourage their questions. In private talks, you can help relieve their shyness by reassuring them that we all make mistakes because we’re human and need more information. Suggest that for now it might be easier to participate at staff meetings if they were to write out their quesitons, and when they get used to that, to add a brief comment before the question.”
    • “Ask them direct questions. At your meetings, turn to the Tongue-Tieds when you reach areas where you know they have experience or expertise.”
    • “Help them improve their meeting reports. Suggest that they practice at home and make a video of themselves. Watching the video can help them to improve their approach and technique.”
    • “Assign them to small committees. The give-and-take discussions in smaller groups are so informal that they serve as good practice sessions. Here the Tongue-Tieds can gain confidence in expressing themselves.”
    • “Suggest public speaking courses. Perhaps your company has a training program in which the Tongue-Tieds can get assistance. If not, point out available community resources, like Toastmasters.”
  • Strategy for dealing with nitpickers
    • “Avoid direct criticism of your boss. A Nitpicker who’s obsessed with controlling every detail might react by firing you.”
    • “Capitalize on the boss’s objections. Instead of feeling (or worse, displaying) your anger or annoyance, be ready with a positive, reassuring response. Thank the boss for bringing the matter to your attention.”
    • “Review your listening skills. Pick up on what you have missed. Make sure you understood correctly. Be extra careful and double-check your work. Send an email after your in-person dialogue to show your boss that you are on the same page.”
  • Checklist to improve your listening skills and responses:
    • “Do you listen to understand, rather than to prepare a response? If you think you’re under attack, listen for the reason behind the attack. You don’t have to agree. You can acknowledge without arguing”
    • “Do you listen without interrupting? If you break in, you’re not hearing the entire message. Listen to learn what’s important to others. What exactly do they want to know? Then that’s what you’ll emphasize when it’s your turn to talk. Your aim is to link their goal with yours.”
    • “Do you listen for main ideas instead of trying to remember all the facts? Do you question any assumptions that are misrepresented as facts?”
    • “Can you maintain eye contact and resist looking away from the speaker? Do you give a nod or a smile to show you’re interested and paying attention?”
    • “Do you watch the speaker’s body language? Do face and gestures match the words?”
    • “Is there a hidden meaning between the lines?”
    • “Do you ask probing questions to get pertinent information? Do you try to draw out thinking, instead of supplying answers, to obtain another’s point of view?”
    • “Do you ask clarifying questions? Try such nonthreatening queries as: ‘I don’t quite understand. How would that alter…?’ or ‘Would I be correct if I said that your position is one of…?'”
    • “Do you restate to be sure you understood?”
    • “Do you let others speak first so you can respond initially with a point of agreement? Then you can raise concerns or explain without making excuses.”
    • “Do you listen to reexamine your position? maybe there could be a better way, and you’ll want to improve your stand. Or, maybe some ideas could be combined. Listen for a common thread that could link both points of view or help you arrive at a consensus.”
    • “Do you patiently let an emotional person unwind before you jump in? People who are angry or upset don’t absorb what you’re saying. Why kick someone who’s already down?”
    • “Can you listen respectfully and nonjudgmentally? If you want others to open up, they have to feel that you honestly want to learn what they’re thinking and won’t pounce on them for what they tell you.”
    • “Do you listen sportively so that you can offer good criticism? Concentrate on how you can help promote your boss’s agenda–not to enhance the ego, but to get the desire results.”
    • “Do you listen to yourself? it’s called a third ear, considering how you probably sound to others. Are you aware of your tone and tempo?”
  • Strategy for dealing with guilt ladlers who “manage to make you feel guilty, no matter the real reason.”
    • “State your feelings clearly. Be honest about being hurt or disturbed by what the boss has said. you’re not criticizing the boss if you simply state how you feel, along with your desire to restore the damaged relationship.”
    • “Toss back the guilt. Politely and calmly refuse to accept it. Point out in a straightforward manner the role that the boss has played.”
    • “Sever the boss’s problem from yours. The boss is showing signs of insecurity, so be careful to protect the boss’s feelings as you do this.”
  • Strategy for dealing with hanging judges who “blame you before gathering or hearing the facts.”
    • “Let go of your hurt feelings. Keep still until your anger subsides. To get a little objectivity, back away, pretending it’s someone else’s problem. In all probability, you’re not the only one the boss treats this way.”
    • “Deal with the boss’s hostility. Politely show that you’re not the weak and vulnerable victim the boss thought you were. To voice your objections, use questions rather than accusations.”
    • “Criticize without doubting authority. If the boss thinks you’re questioning his actions, he’ll become defensive and immovable. Don’t blame anyone. Keep your disagreement on a professionally high plane to avoid a confrontation. Be cooperative and respectful, and stick to the issues.”
    • “Provide a gracious way out. After the boss calms down and is rational, discuss objectives and suggest options. Find some points on which you can sincerely compliment and agree with the boss. Help him increase his own self-esteem.”
    • “When you’re being blamed for something that’s not your fault, don’t yell ‘Foul.’ Keep playing, even though the boss is changing the rules in the middle of the game. But come back strong, in a polite and straightforward manner. It’s unlikely you’ll get picked on again once the boss realize you’re more valuable as a supporter than as a scapegoat.”
  • Strategy for dealing with meat grinders who “are overly candid. Their cutting criticism rips you to shreds.”
    • “Admit your error quickly and emphatically. As soon as you realize that you, or someone under you, goofed, claim the blame. In the boss’s mind, this computers as ‘Aha, he sees I was right to criticize him, so I suppose he’s not so dumb after all. Let’s see what else he has to say.’ Denying your mistake only makes you appear spineless. Delaying causes you unnecessary hardship.”
    • “Give no alibi or excuse. If your subordinate was the one who messed up, you still have to accept the responsibility. Get to the point without cushioning the misdeed. You were wrong. You are sorry. An alibi would only make the boss madder because it implies the boss accused you unjustly.”
    • “Offer a way to make it better. Suggest your plan to correct the error. Restate your boss’s criticism, transforming each negative into a positive objective. If, after having time to calm down, the boss continues hurling insults at you, hold on to your dignity by proclaiming that you accepted criticism as sound, but that her being unnecessarily rough is delaying progress in working things out.”
    • “Seek agreement on the plan. Whatever you two come up with, be sure you’re in a accord before you leave. If the boss has to bring in someone else to clean up your dirty work, this wont’ improve your relationship.”
  • Strategy for dealing with squawkers who “chronic gripers who grumble about everything–publicly and secretly.”
    • “Do a quick review. Race over the facts leading up to this point. Did you inadvertently trigger the trouble? Have you assumed colleague support without bothering to check?”
    • “Don’t play their I’ve-got-a-secrete game. Refuse to promise to keep confidential your peer’s gossip or rumor. Get the issue on the table so that you can deal with it.”
    • “Dissolve the tension by talking. You can’t let cutting remarks fester. Politely confront your accuser. Then examine the system that allowed the problem to arise. Discuss options. If a colleague unfairly criticized you at a staff meeting, meet later in private to has it out.”
    • “Tough base regularly with potential troublemakers. Keep your peers informed about your projects. Involve them by coordinating appropriate segments. Before they squawk to the boss about you, listen to, understand, and be cooperative about their complaints. Suggest joint presentations with the modification you agree on. And give them the starring roles.”
    • “Insist on respect for yourself and your peers. Simply refuse to continue a conversation unless everyone is civil. If a peer complains about another colleague to you, you can’t escape by keeping still. To a Squawker, remaining silent means you agree. If you think the their party is indeed causing a problem, decide how you are going to deal with it. If you disagree, speak up ans say why you feel as you do.”
  • Strategy for dealing with supersenitives
    • “Do I help build their self-confidence? Ask them to review your work and suggest changes. Your gratitude will raise their own self-respect.”
    • “Do I help them balance their feelings? Do you get them to express their hurt directly and honestly? If you contributed to their hurt feelings, apologize. If their feelings appear irrational, ask them to look again at the facts.”
    • “Do I protect their pride? They feel humiliated if you discuss a problem in front of others. Keep it private.”
    • “Have a acknowledged their needs? Recognize their requirements without assuming blame or guilt. Simply add what you, too, need–and why.”
    • “Do I soften the sting? Wedge a criticism between two compliments. Talk as teammates working together. Say, ‘We did,’ rather than ‘You did.'”
    • “Do I let the boss handle their poor performance? If they don’t do their job right, that’s the boss’s responsibility, not yours. When you poke your nose into somebody else’s turf, they have a right to resent it.”
    • “Do I skip lengthy prologues? Get right to the point. Otherwise they sense something is coming. Your stalling makes them anxious and exaggerates the importance of the discussion.”
    • “Do I state issues factually? Be prepared with specific names, numbers, places, dates, and frequency. Use questions to expose underlying problems.”
    • “Do I keep the discussion substantive? After you acknowledge their feelings, stick to the facts, objectives, obstacles, and tactics. Skip the talk about attitudes, motives, or who’s to blame.”
    • “Have we agreed on a plan? Develop specific stages or tasks to get from here to there. If the steps are complicated, remain upbeat as you both develop an outline. Email the plan to create a paper trail and to ensure accountability.”
  • Strategy for dealing with wisecrackers who “toss witty and sarcastic jokes about your flaws.”
    • “Own up to a mistake. If your error is exposed to a group, admit, apologize, and briefly explain. Assume your explanation will be accepted. If you expound, point by point, it looks like you expect them to find you guilty–and they most likely will.”
    • “Make light of a public ‘attack.’ Without becoming defensive, move the subject away from yourself and talk policy or procedure. If the disguised joke continue, seek peer support by asking if the others agree. Start teasing the Wisecrackers yourself. Their other victims in the group will probably be happy to join you.”
    • Practice at home to take the offensive. Hearing how you sound on video will help you develop a confident and conversational tone. By role-playing with a friend, you can practice making direct eye contact as well as adopting a sincere and relaxed manner. Critique your performance by reviewing the recording. keep practicing until you are more comfortable.”
    • “In private, bring hostility to the surface. Wisecrackers will claim they were only teasing, but they persist in digging. Unemotionally, tell them how you felt. Ask the Wisecrackers to be up-front with you, then deal with the real problem.”
    • “Disarm your attackers. keep your colleagues informed. Give them a chance to buy into your project or proposal. Get them to express to you their thinking, suggestions, and disagreements in the early stages, rather than springing the finished product on the group and inviting the wisecracks.
  • Strategy for dealing with wet blankets who “quickly douse the flames whenever colelagues are fired up with enthusiasm or creativity.”
    • “construct support before offering your plan. Save your conclusion until the group has examined the various elements. When possible point to relevant similar ideas that have worked successfully in the past.”
    • “Acknowledge that problem areas exist. you can’t change the personalities of Wet Blankets, but this will allow you to alter the outcome. Instead of arguing, admit that perhaps your original thinking should be modified, and ask for their specific objections. Also, ask Wet Blankets what would be the worst-case scenario if you go ahead with this idea.”
    • “Keep control of the discussion. Wet Blankets have a habit of interrupting to interject their doom and gloom. Don’t let them. Interrupt the interrupter and keep going.”
    • “Sincerely suggest ways to help Wet Blankets with their careers. make them aware of how negativity can hold them back. Explain the importance of being fair and listening without interrupting to the entire proposal before handing it a death sentence.”
  • Strategy for dealing with blame shifters who “blame you for their own boneheaded blunders.”
    • “Let them voice their anger or frustration. Be empathetic, anxious to know what they think. Listen, without responding to the charges. Blame Shifters will try to make you their victims. Even if you contributed to a misunderstanding, that doesn’t relieve them of their obligations.”
    • “Suggest that you meet soon. You both need a little time to compose yourselves. Should the Blame Shifters’ complaints be legitimate, you’ll want to correct your action. When the atmosphere is calm again, start resolving the difficulty.”
    • Define the real problem. Start by complimenting Blame Shifters on specific matters they handled well. Then point out the trouble spots. Keep the discussion impersonal.”
    • “Dont’ do your subordinates’ work for them. Make them responsible for working on the solution and follow through. Explain the consequences they face if they don’t produce. Ask them to specify the tasks that have to be done and to set reasonable deadlines. have them send you a recap email to make sure you’re on the same page. Now let go! There’s a plan and a date; forget about the matter until then.”
  • Strategy for dealing with whiners who “are crybabies who voice protracted protests over the unimportant.”
    • “Reassure the Whiners. They may be using petty complaints to get you to say something nice to them. Try more frequent feedback to recognize their accomplishments, allay their fears or insecurities, and offer you support. Keep checking to learn if things are okay before they hatch minor matters into full-scale complaints.”
    • “Lead them toward more appropriate behavior. Ask them how they feel after acting in certain (inappropriate) ways and what part their behavior had in bringing about the result. You can be empathetic and noncritical and still help Whiners realize that they were part of the problem and should be part of the solution.”
    • “Refuse to be the referee. Don’t take sides, either in petty bickering or if the squabble blow up and the whole office is abuzz. When it gets that bad, you have to step in, but get the facts before you do. Don’t blame anyone or let them rehash accusations. To restore teamwork, get them to recognize that they both have individual needs, and that they both must focus on how these needs can be met.”
    • “Distinguish between a Whiner’s exaggerated cry and a common complaint. If you’re concerned that the criticism may be more widespread than you first realized, use your staff meetings to resolve the problem. Give the group an exercise in finding solutions.”
  • Strategy for dealing with self-beraters who “nag themselves and believe that whatever went wrong was their fault.”
    • “Continue giving them assignments they do well. Offer help if they need it, and leave them alone if they don’t. Allow them to experience a lot of little successes to feel more secure and bolster their self-confidence in the good work they are capable of performing.”
    • “Get them to talk about their concerns. Once they can discuss what’s making them feel anxious and look at it for what it is, they can deal with it. But as long as they cover up their fears with self-incrimination, they’ll keep deprecating themselves to counteract anticipated criticism.”
    • “Explain the cost of begging for reassurance. Recognize good work, but don’t reinforce their habit by pumping out reassurance upon request. Make clear the negative effect this has on others.”
    • “Don’t baby the Self-Beraters by spoon-feeding them compliments upon demand. You stunt their growth if you pay their emotional blackmail. When they cry for reassurance, them them the jobs they can handle and the recognition they deserve. Do what’s reasonable to help them build self-confidence, and get them to identify and deal with their real concerns.”
  • Strategy for dealing with martyrs who “complain about how much they’ve sacrificed when you never even asked for their help.”
    • “Produce a plan to redistribute the work. When Martyrs protect their workload like mother hens, scratching everyone else in the process, it’s time to change the mix. Giving each worker new assignment will prevent overburdening. It also loosens the Martyrs’ grip and dispels the reason for resentment.”
    • “Politely refuse excessive help. Within seconds, the compulsive Martyrs will again be volunteering. Don’t accept. Keep their assignments within the limit you set. martyrs have a personal problem, and they’ll have find some way to deal with it other than driving everybody in the office crazy.”
    • “Be more generous with recognition. Utilize the talents of the Martyrs by recognizing their excellence and persuading them to help you coach others.”
  • When you disagree
    • “It seems to me that the problem is…”
    • “My concerns is that we may not have enough…”
    • “Please explain to me. There appears to be an error…”
    • “While I don agree with your conclusion, you certainly have the right to your opinion.”
    • “Would it be possible for you to recheck..?”
  • When you’re interruped
    • “Pardon me, I am not through. just give me a few seconds to finish my point.”
  • When you run into a buzz saw
    • “Obviously, you’re too upset to discuss now. I’ll talk to you later.”
    • “We don’t have to agree, but is there any reason we can’t be civil to each other?”
    • “I can see why you may feel that way…”
    • “You’d have to every right to feel that way if that were the case.”
    • “I understand you have a problem with that, but I expect to be treated with courtesy, respect, and the professionalism I’ve earned.”
    • “Please tell me frankly what I’ve done to offend you.”
  • When you’re being pressured
    • “I don’t feel totally comfortable [with that] [talking about that]…”
    • “Don’t you think it would be a good idea to hold off until….?”
  • When you reprimand
    • “What steps would you suggest to correct that?”
    • “I’m sure you don’t realize it, but…”
    • “Perhaps you don’t understand the consequences that could result from…”
    • “Maybe I failed to make myself clear…”
  • When you want to express your anger
    • “I have to tell you that I felt offend by that remark.”
    • “I was upset when I realized the decision was based on…”
    • “I felt I was treated badly when I wasn’t informed in advance about the change.”
  • When you want to clear up confusion
    • “I’d appreciate your help with this muddled negotiation. Is it true that you said…?”
    • “When all the facts are in and verified, it will be apparent that…”
    • “It looks like following this system got our signal crossed. However, we can…”
    • “Perhaps I misunderstood. Are you saying that….?”
    • “Let me see if I understand this. would I be corect in assuming that you feel…?”

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