Dealing with Difficult People

The first time I was put in direct supervision of another adult, I was eighteen years old.  It was a difficult time because 1) many of the employees I was supervising were older than me and 2) I was a complete introvert.  Not only did I have to overcome my feelings about supervising adults, but I had to muster the courage to talk.

Over the years, I’ve purchased and read many books on leadership and I’ve held on to them.  One book that has helped me a lot is this one:

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Ever have to deal with a difficult boss, co-worker, assistant, teacher, staff member or parent?  Of course not!  Preschool world is nothing but smiles, rainbows and gaudy sunshine!

Barf!

Perfect Phrases for Dealing with Difficult People by Susan F. Benjamin has been a lifesaver.  For someone who spent most of teenage life observing people, but couldn’t verbalize his thoughts, this book is major a plus.

Heres an example.

Employees who Spread Rumors

Contending with gossipy employees may not seem like a management issue, but it is. Gossip can create an environment of insecurity, sever professional relationships, and foster negativity. It can even create confusion over work issues. So you need to address gossip at the source. Here are some ways to do it.

Set a Precedent

Take a moment in a meeting, write a group email, or do both in which you outline the negative effects of gossip mongering:

  • You may have heard rumors about changes in the organization.  Unless you hear something directly from me, please ignore them.  Otherwise, you may be seriously misled.
  • Spreading rumors about people is destructive and lacks integrity.  So don’t do it.
  • If you hear rumors about people, ignore them.  If you hear someone insulting someone else, insist that the person stop.
  • Beware of rumors about promotions.  Unless you hear directly from me, they’re pure conjecture.
  • Remember the old saying “Loose lips sink ships”? Well, that applies to rumors too.

I don’t know if I’d use the last one, but the first one I would definitely use.  Pick and choose which one fits your personality and leadership style.

And this is not the only area the book touches upon.  Negative coworkers, bully bosses, micromanagers, complainers, angry customers (parents), disruptive participants in presentations, and more are mentioned throughout the book.

This is a great book for any preschool professional to have.  Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.  Enjoy.

P.S. I looked at the Amazon reviews for this book: 3 out of 5 stars.  Meh.  I read what other people wrote.  However, I personally would recommend this book (taking into consideration that I can switch between leadership styles and have a mind of tactful speech).  That’s why people have opinions about books… and this one is mine 🙂

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