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I have joined a new job 1 week ago as a senior developer. I have a meeting with one of the team next week and people told me that one of the person in the meeting is a difficult person. I asked them what do they mean?

The told me that that person tries to corners other people and is a difficult person. They told me that he might say some weird stuff during the meeting and will be aggressive but I should not take it personally.

Any experiences on how to deal with such people! I really like this job and want to work here for a very long time.

marked as duplicate by gnat, Jim G., jcmeloni, Garrison Neely, IDrinkandIKnowThings Aug 15 '14 at 16:44

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    A warning One way (component) to deal with this is not to take those remarks as hard facts and to not immediately put that person into the "such people" category. "people told me" and "such people" are (too) quick conclusions. Use your own judgment and give him a chance. A lot of history has built up in that (any) company and it is not necessarily 'the truth'. – Jan Doggen Aug 15 '14 at 7:17
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You are not giving enough data to work with. When you meet him, watch what he does, how he reacts and how he interacts with those around him. Pay attention to who he annoys - they may be your potential allies, and who he avoids tangling with.

Watch his style. Does he interrupt? Does he pick fights indiscriminately? Is he smart? Is he competent? Does he put his foot in his mouth? Does he watch what he is saying? Does he have allies?

Over time, you should be able to fashion of strategy on how to deal with him, as you know him better including his strengths and weaknesses, his likes and dislikes, what does not not faze him as well as what he fears.

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Is always hard to work with difficult people, that's for sure. However, if you manage to maintain yourself professional and respectful all the time, you will be fine. Some advice I can give:

  • Always treat the other part nice and gentle - don't raise your voice, never. Even if he starts to yell at you, maintain calm and respectfully say something like "XXXX, I think you are being a bit harsh about this. If you need a minute, we can continue this conversation later". If there's more people in the room, it will make you look really professional, because you were not disrupted from your goal (present results, explain a product, or whatever you are talking about in the meeting), and also you were polite to a colleague that was not being polite with you.

  • Always move the discussion from opinions to facts - people being disrespectful tend to criticize the person instead of the arguments/facts you are presenting. If he makes a bad-intention comment regarding what you are discussing, just ask him back about what facts are funding his comments.

  • If you see that he is not going to agree with what you are presenting, then ask him for clear and quantifiable results he will expect regarding that topic - that way, you just have to manage to fill those requirements for the next meeting, and he will not be able to criticize you about your results, because he defined the expectations himself.

  • If you know someone who will attend the meeting beforehand, present him/her with your results/topics before going there - that way, you can get feedback from a peer, and also you will have someone else on your side if things go bad. You can only imagine how much empathy you generate in someone when you ask for sincere peer advice/feedback :)

Good luck in your meeting, and let us know how it went.

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I can't vote some of your answers here but I will say that I definitely agree to your answers. One key rule here is a basic in human relationship really. If learned this before I could have made a lot of friends. Thanks to the book of Dale Carnegie back in the old years: "How to Win Friends and Influence People". If someone says that a person is bad and all that, never look it that way. Always believe that there are good and greatness in other people regardless of how other people see them. Instead, just be nice, generous, humble and calm, respectful and polite. Learn how to appreciate people but be "GENUINE" on your lavish approbation. Don't hit his ego but know what he wanted, know his interest, be interested on what interest him. People love to talk about themselves, if he wants the top, relieve your pedestal and give it to him. It makes you less hostile and inviting. It makes you a nice person. We can't change people but we can be damn sure influence them and at the same time provide a harmonious relationship to one another. It is really hard to be interested with other people, but believe me, I still believe on what Dale called 'magic'. And that's the only magic I believe. Now I always feel better because meeting people is not always about me, not about presenting myself to them, but instead making themselves present to me.

So learn something about him, profile him if you could, know what he likes. Then when you meet him, say something like: "Oh so you are [name], I heard a lot from you [even though you heard bad things about the guy], you are the guy who wrote the system about [blah blah]. It is really awesome. I would really love to hear about your involvement on that project." Something like that, well you have your personality, you can say it better than me. If he is really difficult, maintain your composure and be always nice.

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