Dealing with Scrooge and Other Villains: A Holiday Course in Difficult People


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It is that time of year for good cheer and fellowship. Hear from Rich Gallagher and on how to warm up your interpersonal skills and deal with those customers, co-workers, or bosses who never got the memo.

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Dealing with Scrooge and Other Villains: A Holiday Course in Difficult People

  1. 1. Dealing With Scrooge and Other Villains: A Holiday Course in Difficult People It is that time of year for warmth, good cheer, and fellowship. But do you have customers, co-workers, or bosses who never got the memo? Let's look at some of these real-life "characters" in your working life, and learn how to warm up your interpersonal skills and deal with them: 1. Scrooge This person has a word for everything, and it's always "no." Sometimes it seems like he either likes to be difficult about everything, or perhaps he just gets up on the wrong side of the bed and takes his nasty pills every day. There is always a problem with him, and it starts with his negativity. How do you deal with Scrooge? The key is to understand how Scrooge thinks and speak to it. One technique I often use is the so-called "empty chair" technique from Gestalt psychotherapy. Picture Scrooge in an empty chair, and voice all your complaints to it. Then sit in the chair and respond as Scrooge would. Those are the words that you should use to speak to Scrooge. Let's say if you accused him of being a control freak, he would respond that he has high standards and watches the finances. Speak to those high standards and financial concerns, and watch yourself get taken more seriously in turn. 2. The Snow Queen This person can passionately and intelligently discuss any position as long as it's hers. But if you disagree with her - or worse yet, criticize her - be prepared to watch the snow fly. She doesn't like to be wrong, and has a hard time grasping other points of view. The way you deal with the Snow Queen is to acknowledge her position first. Paint her position as that of a totally reasonable person - even if you violently disagree with it - before you say your piece. You aren't just kissing up to her, but rather you are disarming her of her weapons: once you make it clear that you "get" her, she can't raise these views against you again. 3. Jack Frost Jack is that icy, passive-aggressive person who always leaves a chill in the air. He sees no need to argue with you - he just shuts down and makes the situation your problem. And the more you push him to respond, the more he clams up. 1 Dealing With Scrooge and Other Villains: A Holiday Course in Difficult People
  2. 2. Jack is most likely to respond to you - and respect you - if you give him power. Let him know that he doesn't have to respond right now if he doesn't want to. Check back with him later, or perhaps follow up with him later via e-mail. And consider using a "negative option" strategy where you lay out how you are going to proceed unless he tells you otherwise. 4. The Little Drummer Boy Bam! Bam! The Little Drummer Boy loudly stirs up drama when you least expect it. He believes that if might doesn't make right, noise, intimidation, and loud voices certainly do. His strategy is often one where the best defense is a good offence. Remember that displayed anger almost always springs from a feeling of powerlessness, so you have your best chance of dealing with The Little Drummer Boy if you engage with him. Listen intently to him, reflect back his feelings, and mirror his grievances. The minute you feel the heat drop even a little bit, then you can start problem-solving with him. 5. The Angry Villagers Sometimes it takes a village - to make things truly miserable. How do you handle customers who rise up on social media and elsewhere to criticize you? Especially when there is a gang of them online whipping up a feeding frenzy, at the expense of your product or service? The most important trait here is to be real. Lose the corporate twaddle about "we value our customers" or "we appreciate your input." Take ownership of their concerns, acknowledge their impact on them, and then where possible do good service recovery and make things right. Even if you can't give them exactly what they want, they will usually appreciate you when you are frank and responsive. Each of these situations use principles from strength-based communication, an evidence-based approach that speaks to the strengths and interests of the other person. This approach has been sweeping fields ranging from athletics to psychotherapy - and with a little effort, can add a lot more holiday cheer to your workplace communications. Good luck! 2 Dealing With Scrooge and Other Villains: A Holiday Course in Difficult People
  3. 3. About the Author Rich Gallagher, LMFT is a former customer service executive and practicing therapist who heads the Point of Contact Group. His books include two #1 customer service bestsellers, “What to Say to a Porcupine” and “The Customer Service Survival Kit: What to Say to Defuse Your Worst Customer Situations,” both released by AMACOM. He has taught over 25,000 people what to say in their worst customer and workplace situations. Visit Rich online at About provides senior-level service and support professionals with direct access to information on customer support, including enterprise strategies, people issues, technology, trends and research. This data enables support professionals to benchmark and improve their customer support operation. Members are responsible for the help desk and customer support operation of their company. More information can be found at About Citrix GoToAssist Citrix GoToAssist provides easy-to-use cloud-based solutions that enable organizations of all sizes to connect with customers, employees and machines online. With GoToAssist, IT professionals can deliver fast, secure remote support and monitor IT infrastructures from anywhere. GoToAssist is recognized as the worldwide market leader by IDC and ranked highest in customer satisfaction according to TSIA research. To learn more, visit About Citrix GoToMeeting GoToMeeting is the extremely simple, extraordinarily powerful web conferencing service from Citrix. It integrates HD video conferencing, screen sharing and audio conferencing, allowing you to collaborate effectively online in a face-to-face environment. Hold unlimited meetings for one low flat fee and attend meetings from a Mac, PC and mobile devices. GoToMeeting will change the way you work – and perhaps a whole lot more. To learn more, visit About Citrix GoToMyPC Citrix GoToMyPC is the fast, simple-to-use and secure remote access tool that lets you instantly connect with your Mac or PC from any Internet connection – including from your iPhone, iPad or Android tablet. With GoToMyPC, you can access your office computer at home or on the go, so you can have the freedom to get work done from wherever you need to be. To learn more, visit 3 Dealing With Scrooge and Other Villains: A Holiday Course in Difficult People