Why are some people difficult? Maybe they are mad at you. Maybe they do not like working on this project. Maybe they are being difficult to hide some other issue. So many maybes.
What you do know is that they are blocking your ability to move forward. Anytime any type of negotiation is required, you know that the first thing this person will do is devise some type of barrier.
We cannot do that because… That will never work because… I cannot accept that approach because…
This is seriously getting in the way of your success.
And YOU are not about to let that happen. You have a project to lead and a schedule and budget to meet. You don’t have time for barriers. Well guess what my friend? You need to make time for barriers. In negotiations difficult people put up barriers. In fact there are five common barriers that you will encounter. Can you guess the first barrier?
Go on give it a try.
The first barrier on the list is Y-O-U. Now you might thinking, “Hey, you do not even know me. How do you know I am the problem?” I do not need to know you to know that it is human nature to have an emotional response when you think that someone is not cooperating with you. Especially when you believe this is not the first time and especially when you believe this person is being intentionally difficult. With all of that going on in your head, it would be difficult for it not to create a barrier. And what you need is a breakthrough, not a barrier.
Your first step in negotiating with a difficult person to get your emotions in check. What you really want is to feel like the two of you are sitting next to one another, that you are on the same side. And you cannot do that until you give yourself a chance to calm down. Take a break. Do not respond out of anger or spite or an urge to get even. Do not respond until you can do so in a calm and even tone.
Once you can do this, you are on your way to sitting on the same side. The next thing you want to do is to step to their side. Stepping to their side is all about trying to understand the situation from their perspective. It is about being confident that you will be able to come to an agreement. It is about finding common ground and things you can agree on, even if it is agreeing that this situation is challenging. That is a start; together you have reached an agreement. This might just pave the way to other agreements and it allows you both to show that you are not always in combat mode.
Consider the following quote:
“Rarely is it advisable to meet prejudices and passions head on. Instead, it is best to conform to them in order to gain time to combat them. One must know how to sail with a contrary wind and to tack until one meets a wind in the right direction.” – Fortune de Felice, 1778
Once you have your emotions in check and you have stepped to their side, it is time to sit side-by-side and work as partners. Remember, this is a difficult person you are negotiating with and this means you will face more barriers. And each barrier requires a breakthrough. A breakthrough you are more than capable of facilitating.
Curious about the other four barriers? I hope you can come see me at the PMI-OC Building Leaders for Business conference on September 10, 2016. Together we will discuss each of the remaining barriers along with some tips on how to turn those barriers into breakthroughs. Click here or cut and paste this link into your favorite browser to learn more. http://www.pmi-oc.org/conference
Hope to see you soon!