What are you dealing with?

Have you ever found yourself forced to spend time with people you just don’t like? Or people who don’t like you? How do you handle it?

I am privileged to come from a family (a large one) where we genuinely like each other, and enjoy spending time together. Do we occasionally squabble? Yes, but it ends up being more like puppy fights than wars. And at the end, we still like and respect each other.

And, in my business life I have made a conscious effort to surround myself with people I know, like and trust. I think both of these things give me a real boost and even an added edge on occasion.

It hasn’t always been that way. I have had my share of nightmare situations – from the team member who does no work (but talks a good game and takes all the credit) to the department head at a client engagement who said “I am not going to implement a single thing you suggest.” And everything in between.

What do you do in that situation?

Well, I can tell you from personal experience what doesn’t work. When dealing with a team member who is doing no work – doing their job on top of your own and seething about it isn’t a great approach. Yes, the project does get done. But not holding the team member accountable for doing their own job does no good. And quietly seething about it is only harmful to you.

And, again from personal experience – what does work is establishing boundaries and sticking by them. Being accountable to the client or the team works. In the case of the department head, my approach was to let my client know that I wasn’t going to waste their money by spending any more time in that department. The client appreciated that, and since I had already done what they wanted me to do in that department, nothing more was said.

However, as we all know, we don’t always have total control over who we are working with and having to deal with people who you don’t like or trust can take a real toll on your energy, your self confidence, your self esteem, and your productivity. So what can you do?

Set your boundaries, pick your battles, and don’t engage in the tug of war. Be accountable for yourself and your results. Hold others to account for themselves and their results.

And sometimes you just have to leave a toxic environment. For many, the relief of being out of that environment is enormous. It’s only then that you realize how much of your energy was going towards coping.

Look around. Are you accountable? Are you pulling your weight? Or are you carrying the weight of others? Or maybe someone is picking up the slack you are leaving?

What is in your control is your own behavior. Remember, being accountable works, setting boundaries works, respecting yourself and others works.

(c) 2010, Terry Monaghan

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Consultant, coach, speaker, trainer and entrepreneur, Terry Monaghan, publishes Now What, a free weekly ezine for entrepreneurs and professionals who want to double their productivity, improve their performance, and have a life! If you’re ready to jump start your performance and your results, then get your free tips now at www.TimeTriage.com.