Let me guess. You just had a really bad day at the office, the same person keeps giving you hell week-on-week, and all you want to do is wait for that perfect moment to stick the knife in and, viola! An opportunity presents itself… whoa back buck! Keep the knife in the scabbard and why not try a PGR instead?
PGR is an acronym that I literally just made up then – it stands for Personal Growth Response. It sounds very officious so I thought I’d use it.
We have all had to deal with difficult personalities, in and outside of work so I’m fairly confident, dear reader, you can relate to situational variations on the same theme – how to respond to a jerk in a mature way.
So we are on the same page first, I have outlined what could reasonably be considered immature responses –
Pulling Hair (very career limiting move)
Offering to buy coffee for your arch nemesis, only to secretly spit and swirl in their beverage
Signing up your enemy’s work email to a whole bunch of dodgy websites that will end up in your IT Department’s quarantine in box –
Your Enemy: “I have no idea about any of these websites”.
Dubious and harassed IT Support Person: “Really? How odd.”
Instead, dear reader, I’m proposing the PGR method may result in a very favourable outcome – you might just turn a foe into a friend –
Ask to speak with the person privately – not in a meeting room that is all glass walls – preferably in a neutral space (i.e. not your home or office, but a park, café etc).
Start off with a positive statement that makes clear your intention i.e. you want to get along but feel recent events / interactions are making it difficult.
Give the person an opportunity to save face first. Instead of going into the plethora of offences (real or perceived) check in with what’s going on personally for them e.g. –
“Is everything okay? It seems lately you’ve been really stressed out – and acting out of character and I just thought you may need someone to talk too.”
Often times, people behave badly because things either professionally or personally are not going well for them. It’s easy to just dismiss someone as a jerk, and treat them accordingly, but it is so rewarding, and often times, pleasantly surprising, when we respond to bad behaviour with good grace.
By being kind to someone being mean, it often throws them off balance, and if they are really decent under all that gruff, (which most people are), they will self-correct and appreciate being told, in a very gracious way – to pull their head in.
Till next time, crack a queer whid!