Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Dealing with Difficult People and New Ideas

by DrJudy on

Dealing with difficult people in a group or team often involves dealing with how the concept of ‘new ideas’ is handled. What do I actually mean by this? Well this is about how other people respond when someone brings up a new idea because this is vital as to whether this idea ever progresses further or just dies.

NEGATIVE VERBAL COMMENTS AND NEGATIVE NON-VERBAL CUES

You will notice that difficult, obstinate and stubborn people almost always are negative towards any new ideas and ‘put down’ the person suggesting a new idea. This ‘put down’ can be either verbal and/or non-verbal cues such as rolling their eyes, shaking their head, folding their arms or generally looking disinterested.

Whatever the way this is then communicated it results in stopping people discussing this idea and bringing up further ideas. It stifles both current and any future ideas.

WHAT IS IT ABOUT NEW IDEAS?

But did you know that every new idea is actually BORN DROWNING. What this means is that the idea is not yet fully developed or even fully thought through yet. Every new idea needs the opportunity to float, swim and develop much, much further. To do this you need positive people to support and encourage the person who brings up the idea. You do not need negative and difficult people that jump on and squash any new idea and also the person who suggested the idea.

THE POWER OF NEGATIVITY CAN BE HUGE

But have you ever seen people in a team or group who whenever people bring up new ideas, these people always respond negatively to these ideas? Negativity is a sure-fire way to ensure that the idea drowns and is lost forever. This does not mean that every new idea is a great idea. But if the idea never gets the chance to be discussed and explored how will people ever know if it is a worthwhile idea?

HOW TO GIVE IDEAS A CHANCE TO DEVELOP

So here is a strategy to give ideas a chance to develop in a team meeting and reduce the negativity of difficult people. Introduce a NEW IDEAS STRATEGY. This means that when someone suggests a new idea then everyone else must make a positive comment about the idea before any further discussion occurs. People cannot jump into negative comments first, they must start with positive, encouraging and supportive comments.

SWITCHING FROM NEGATIVE TO POSITIVE

This strategy will change the atmosphere from negative to positive and helps people see the possibilities in an idea. This allows the opportunity for the idea to at least start to swim and perhaps develop further. Try it! It will surely reduce the power of those who always want to squash new ideas and are being extremely difficult people.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol November 14, 2012 at

This is an excellent idea.
I work in a team with people who have been with the company for many years. It always seems to happen that new ideas are discounted without giving them any real thought.
Next time anyone has a new idea I will suggest we all say something positive about it first.
It is so easy to get into a rut and do something a certain way simply because it has always been done that way.

Dr Judy Esmond November 15, 2012 at

Hi Carol,
Thanks for your feedback Carol. You make an excellent point about getting into a rut. Most often the ‘rut’ or habitual responses in relation to new ideas in dealing with difficult people is negativity. This strategy will help to change the habit to starting with positive rather than negative responses.
Regards
Judy

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