You know that aggravating co-worker…

Most likely that annoying person that you work with – and who drives you crazy – is driving others crazy too. And more than that, he/she (it!) is sending your customers away.

I called my financial advisor yesterday to ensure he would receive my SEP contribution. The receptionist answered as if he had marbles in his mouth. More than that, I heard him audibly sigh as he picked up the phone. (Maybe he has a breathing problem, but to me, before he even said a word, I felt that he was annoyed that I was interrupting him.)

Him (sigh then): “Blank Blank Advisors”
Me: Hi! May I speak with BC?
Him: Who’s calling. (I can’t add a question mark here because he said it flat like a statement.)
Me: Sue Coore
Him: NOTHING

Okay, so when BC answered, I thought I could do him a favor and tell him how uncomfortable and unfriendly the interaction was. BC has been my advisor for 14+ years. As soon as I started offering my opinion, he stopped me.

Yes, I know. I get told that all the time. He is unfriendly and everyone complains about him. But he has been here for 20 years and he is a hard worker and there is nothing I can do.”

Really. Really? He knows that “everyone” complains about the first impression being made for the firm (and I’m guessing he isn’t the only one who does) and there is nothing he can do. This investment advisor is a Senior Vice President (in an organization where titles mean something!).

Solution

Be brave enough to have the conversation that needs to happen.

That aggravating co-worker (staff member, manager) is making your job more difficult and losing business for you. Yesterday, The Wall Street Journal printed an article about “Hidden Ways Hotels Court Guests Faster.” “The goal: Dazzle guests during the first, crucial 15 minutes of their stay—or at least avoid annoying them.” Regardless of what business you’re in, your business depends on those first impressions.

Consider this: Without talking to him, he may actually think he is doing a good job.

And more: In all our lives, we too often ignore the most important conversations. We don’t say what we should because we don’t know how to do so without hurting the other person or our selves.

Holding difficult conversations with difficult people is difficult! Having the skills to help the other person feel safe and smart during the conversation, knowing that no matter what, you can maintain your dignity and help the other person maintain his or hers, makes all the difference in the world.

What do you know that needs to be known by others?
What skills do you need to own to feel capable and courageous enough to have the needed conversation?

Here are a few tips on dealing with difficult people.

Your comments? (And yes, I’m sending this link to my Investment Advisor now.)

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