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5 Ways To Handle Frustrating People

2. Intentionally Focus on Tone and Body Language

Your tone and body language is either fueling tension or diffusing it. You are either communicating genuine concern or revealing emotions that add to the problem. During frustrating moments or tense conversations, seek to have open gestures and choose not to match the tone. If you are constantly matching the tone, the intensity will increase. Choose to speak at least one level below what the other person is communicating. You can be firm but calm at the same time. These two focuses alone will minimize the energy and intensity level of the conversation.

3. Summarize and Restate

John Maxwell has often said that “people don’t care what you have to say, until they know that you care.” In the same way, most people people don’t care what your thoughts are until they know that they have been heard. Affirm the other person by ensuring that they know you understand where they are coming from. You can easily do this by summarizing and restating what they have communicated to you.

4. Ask Empowering Questions

Some leaders push the other person to be defensive. A much more healthy response is to leverage intentional questions to help the other individual reach their own conclusions about the problem at hand. Asking questions like, “Can you help me understand…” will move the other person to respond directly to your inability to understand something. This will allow the other person to move from unhealthy emotional responses to a more logical response.

5. Assume The Best

No matter how intense the frustration or how difficult the conversation, as a leader you must choose to assume the best in the individual’s intentions. If you have hired or recruited wisely, then you should have people on your team who have the right intentions. Even if the individual isn’t on your team, choosing to assume the best of their intentions will help you move quicker to the root of the issue and towards a better understanding of what the real problem is. If the issue is their intent, it will clearly surface over time.

As you move forward, know that your patience is a reflection of your personal growth, not of frustrating people. Choose wisely how you respond and you can grow your influence while making others (even frustrating people) better.