Working With High-Conflict People

Last week we talked about Level 1 Resistance, which is your own resistance. This week the focus is on observing “their resistance,” which I call Level 2 Resistance, and what you can do as a leader.

Level 2: Their Resistance

It’s easy to notice someone else’s resistance. There’s the complaining colleague who wastes hours venting about the same problem; the poor performer making excuses and blaming others; the aggressive and closed-minded executive. One-upmanship, impatience argumentativeness, bossiness, know-it-alls — it’s all resistance.

What to do: Stop judging and simply observe. Observe the amount of time that’s wasted on negativity, argument, lack of curiosity, the need to be right and downright disrespect.

Notice your emotional charge, but don’t engage in trying to change others. Instead, ask a question: “What would make this better for you?”

Another question is “What do you want?” Then listen.

I almost guarantee the resistant person can’t answer those questions. If they knew they would move on and take action. Instead, they are too invested in the problem, and what everyone else is doing wrong.

When you can help others articulate what they want, you help them release resistance.

This is a coaching skill I teach in some of my programs. If interested, connect with me via email and let’s talk.

Marlene Chism