As promised I’m going to share a real example with you this week of a person who had a tendency to take a position and defend it. If you remember from last week my encounter with this gentleman, we’ll call him John, included the statement from him:
“As you know, no body learns anything new after the age of eighteen.”
So first some background. I was conducting staff interviews in order to design a training course on handling difficult people!
The HR manager told me at the last minute that he had included John because he was curious about what would happen! Apparently John had not managed to complete any training course he had attended. He either walked out or got thrown out! How interesting I thought.
I began to get to create a number of hypotheses about John based on the information I was given. It seemed that he was probably internally referenced, held some strong beliefs and was often “parental” in his interactions with others.
When he arrived I decided to use the following approach.
First I built rapport by making a point of thanking him for giving up his time to talk to me. I deliberately showed deference and respect accessing from a transactional analysis model “child” behaviour.
I asked him to tell me a little about himself and was surprised to discover some new information. He was currently working in car parks and had been for about five years. Before that he had worked in an engineering company for many years before retiring from a post as a director. The job he had now was to keep him busy and for “pin” money.
It was a nice reminder not to make assumptions!
I asked him for some of his experiences where he had to deal with difficult people. He told me several stories, some where he had been very skilful and others that were rather scary. He had been sexist in some cases, overbearing in others and clearly rude in yet others. His own perception was that his behaviour was good.
I also asked him about his experience on training courses. This is where he made the statement about learning. He went on to tell me that one trainer had asked him what he was expecting to learn on the training course and he had answered.
Now you have the back ground. What would you do to handle John effectively?
Next week I’ll tell you what I did.