Bulldozers Are Not Your Friends! (2/18/22)
These days it seems like Baton Rouge is one never-ending “road under construction” zone. Crews are working to widen lanes on the interstate, so drivers are taking the side streets and “back roads” – leading to more congestion. You can’t get anywhere without dodging orange cones, detour signs, barricades, bulldozers and dump trucks. Driving the roads today is quite the challenge. No one wants to tangle with a bulldozer or a dump truck!
Take a look at your relationships. Who are your “bulldozers and dump trucks” – the difficult people who are making your life quite the challenge? Your “bulldozers” may appear as those who use anger and aggressive behavior to get their way. Your “dump trucks” can take the form of whiners and complainers who feel much better after dumping their problems and complaints on you.
Difficult people have many manipulative traits in common. They’ve learned that being difficult gives them a feeling of power and control as they manipulate others to get the results they want. It’s their standard operating behavior. Can you change them? NO! Do you have other options? YES! Rather than giving in or giving up, try these three strategies from my books, keynotes and workshops, Secrets to Success in Dealing with Difficult People.
- Stop taking their behavior personally. Observe how they treat others. It’s probably the same way they treat you. So it’s not about you. Being more objective puts you in control rather than giving them the power to control and manipulate you.
- Difficult people have a myriad of excuses for their bad behavior, but very few apologies. Have they “trained” you to lower your standards to meet theirs? What’s wrong with that picture? It’s up to you to change the picture. Things will never change… until you do. Instead of accepting their excuses, hold them accountable through your words and actions.
- Stop rewarding them. Difficult people aren’t stupid. Why would they go to all the trouble of changing a negative behavior that’s getting the results they want? Take an honest look at how you might be rewarding them. Then decide what you can start doing differently.
Bulldozers and dump trucks in Baton Rouge will eventually move on to other locations and begin again to create positive outcomes out of chaos and confusion. That’s what they do. The difficult people in our lives may operate like bulldozers and dump trucks, but they never produce positive outcomes. They’re too busy creating chaos and confusion in our lives.
You don’t have the power to change a difficult person. You DO have the power to rewrite the rules of your relationship, set boundaries and stick to them. Change is never easy, and it often requires hard work. If you’re in a relationship with a difficult person you’ll know when you’re ready to make changes for your own good. What’s your first step? When will you take it? The three steps I’ve shared will get you off to a good start. Choose one… and get to work!