It's such a popular notion to get rid of the nay-sayers and negative people. If
That's not only impossible, it's not good for you.
Keep this in mind: You never know when you can help someone you don't like.
I had an experience recently that brought the point home. It's embarrassing, however worth my red face, for a lesson learned.
It's about a very nasty colleague I just wanted to erase from my life. However, he wouldn't go away. The more I ignored him, was slow with responses, the more he persisted.
Finally, to get him off my back,I texted him that I would be available for coffee. I figured if the meeting had boundaries that included one cup of coffee I could get away fast.
Now, here's where it got interesting.
He has extreme views on everything from politics, to climate change, to how to hire and fire employees. I've heard everything he disagrees with over and over. Nothing was going to change his perspective so I just figured I would listen and leave, fast.
He wanted some advice. Just that was
The human being inside of him began to show up. He told me he was worried about his job. He knew, he told me, he turned off most of his colleagues with his strong points of view. Suddenly he didn't sound like the guy who had all the answers in the team meetings. After the second cup of coffee he got to the heart of the reason he wanted to meet.
He was divorced. OK I knew that. He then shared that he had two grown children who ended their relationship with him several years ago and it was ripping him apart. He said that when I taught
Quietly, he asked for coaching. He didn't want it to be paid for by the company and he wasn't sure I would even agree to it. He sat with his head down as he waited for me to respond.
I must admit, I felt like a fool. I know better than to judge. And yet, that's exactly what I had been doing.
I started a private coaching program with him. Months later he decided to reach out to his son and daughter. It took some time and is still a work in progress. He is also less of a bully in meetings. He now waits to hear others and asks questions rather than just talk over everyone.
I knew better than to ignore this guy. Yet, I did just that. I took the easy way. I still feel stupid as I write this. If you have a toxic person in your midst, don't wait.
1. Invite them for coffee.
2. Pay attention to your body language.
3. Admit that you want to find a new way to relate.
4. Ask open ended questions (How, what, where, when).
5. Be open to outcome and don't impose your perspective.
Everyone who is in our lives has a role. Once you know that and you decide to talk rather than run the other way, you may be surprised to find a friend rather than a foe on the other end of the relationship. It's worth the effort. Wort case, you will have done your part and that's real leadership.