Let me take you to a special place. Few people have been there and even fewer people actually get to stay. It's a little place I like to call Fantasy Island. [youtube 1x_QbVDlLbI]
Fantasy Island is an amazing place. See, on Fantasy Island every single person on your team gets along. There is no strife, none, because everyone wants the exact same thing. Every person knows their specific role and....does it! There's no complaining, no back-biting, only friendship and celebration of one another.
Doesn't that sound amazing?....But then you begin thinking of your own team and reality comes crashing back.
If you work for an organization that depends on volunteers, or even if you work for a company that is a profit making machine, you are guaranteed to volunteer with and work with difficult people.
Here are some quick thoughts on leading difficult people:
1. Is there an absence of trust? If there is, you need to have that conversation now and be honest. You're kidding yourself if you think everyone on your team doesn't see that elephant in the room.
2. You probably possess the same quality that is driving you crazy about someone on your team. Do a heart check before confronting and passing blame onto someone else. Are you leading a control freak? Is it driving you crazy that you can't control that control freak?
3. Seek to understand before being understood. Don't measure someone's performance without first finding out what's in their heart.
4. "A house divided cannot stand." If a specific issue is the cause of a difficult relationship, then address it and work through it. You need to go in, cut it out, and kill it if there is a cancer on your team. You can't band-aid cancer and ignoring it won't make it go away either.
5. Remember this key principle; the team you're on is always more important than the team you lead. Are you spending time with people who are also leading a team? You need too. Share what you are passionate about and spend time with each other.
6. Never publicly criticize a team member. It's one thing to ask a trusted mentor, "How do I handle this difficult person?" But if you are publicly criticizing a member of your team, it will come back to get you. You reap what you sow. (Also, go back and see suggestion 1 because you weren't listening the first time.)
If you're reading this and you're the one causing your leader or team a lot of problems. Congratulations! You are the center of the universe. And it was only at the cost of your team producing great things. Your parents would be proud that you're still spoiled.