Last week, I was meeting with an HR Director for a wrap-up on an individual who had completed our leadership development program. As we concluded the meeting, he asked: “Why do you do this type of work?” As I recalled that conversation, I thought it would be helpful to answer that question for you.
Have you ever gone to work, to a meeting, with the feeling of doom? Even anxiety or mild nausea thinking how hard it was going to be dealing with that person – your boss, co-worker etc.
Isn’t it amazing how one person can interfere with progress, derail or de-motivate an entire meeting, or simply bully other people by cutting them off or talking over them? Have you noticed these individuals are often those in positions of power and authority that have a massive influence on the direction of your group or company?
This dilemma has intrigued me throughout my career. These questions would shuffle through my head around these types of people.
I would ask myself over and over again: Why is this type of behavior allowed? Why doesn’t anybody say anything? Why am I remaining quiet about this? How did these people get to where they are by acting like that? Why do people elevate them to this level? What can be done about this?
One answer was that these people were highly intelligent and successful – but to a point. When these people – managers, C-level individuals “arrived” to high-level positions, leading, inspiring and motivating were not in their skill set. Further, they were not motivated to improve because, “I’ve been successful up to this point, why would I need to listen to you?” (Have you ever heard this or something like it?)
I decided I was going to make it my priority to learn to deal with difficult and challenging people and help others do the same. I’ve spent my career working on methods, interventions, and creating and learning concepts in dealing with challenging individuals.
I love to see people, groups and companies gain contentment and focus once negative behavior has been mitigated. It’s amazing how a few alterations in one person’s actions will calm and focus a whole group of people or organization. Seeing groups relax, focus and get to work because they stop walking on eggshells is why I do this work. Watching those who appear defeated rise up with new ideas and energy is why this work needs to be done.
Hearing people say, “I didn’t think he would ever change” inspires me to continue this work. And, watching those who have been identified as “challenging” or “unreasonable” become labelled as “inspiring” or “somebody I’d like to work for” is why I do this work.
Please respond back with any questions or comments as they are always welcome. If you think this may interest someone feel free to forward it them.
Frank Del Fiugo