How do you deal with rude people? Lessons for Leaders
Something happened today that always frustrates me. I volunteer and coach several sports teams each year. I do it for a lot of reasons. I do it because it is an opportunity to really make my children happy, I do it because I really feel I can have a positive effect in the lives of the kids I spend time with, and I do it because I know that a lot of parents are not willing to. I have had my share of dealing with rude people in my life, but some of the rudest have been the parents of kids I volunteer to coach. Note: You will notice I bold the word volunteer.
Today I coached a very challenging group of kids. There are a number of behavioral challenges with some of these kids. Often times they don’t get a long very well and many of them think they are the next LeBron James. This is probably the most difficult team I have ever coached. But I have enjoyed the challenge and have done my best to make a difference in their life. After all, that is what leaders do. But how do you deal with rude people, in this case a parent, who is confrontational in his or her criticism of you to your face? How do you deal with rude people who only whine, but never step up and help? People that are always only part of the problem, not the solution.
Well, I know in the work place this can be just as challenging. I have had bosses that were rude, I have had co-workers that were rude, and I have had staff that I led that were rude. I believe each of these situations should probably be handled a little different. But I have come up with five general things you can do when someone is being rude.
Here they are:
1. Don’t be quick to respond. If you respond out of emotion, you will almost always regret it. You may be angry back or you might even give that person the impression that you agree with what they are being critical about. Take a deep breath and think about what is being said.
2. Don’t take it personally. Are you really the one with the issue or are they? Try to focus and really listen to what is being said, not how it is being said. The reality is you have done something that has really made this person act rudely, however, that doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you personally. But if there is some value in what is being said, then listen and learn. If not, move on.
3. Invite them to become part of the solution. Dependent on the situation you might want to ask them what they can do to help. If I have done the first two suggestions right, this almost always turns the tables and helps the person to take a good look in the mirror.
4. Stay silent. Sometimes the right thing to do is to look them directly in the eye and don’t say a thing. Let them act like a blockhead. Don’t agree or disagree, just stare at them until they walk away.
5. Unload and unwind. Once you have done what you could, it’s time to unload and unwind and take the rude person and the situation out of your mind. You might want to talk to a close friend or significant other about it. One of the best ways I deal with situations like I have described above is to write about it – hence the reason I am writing about rude people today (wink). It helps me to talk about it and then forget about it and to move on.
What ways have you dealt with rude people? I really want to hear your stories and tips. Please comment below. Thanks!
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