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Preparing Managers to Deal with Difficult People Some Practical Strategies 1,2,3 A Presentation for the 2005 OHA Annual Meeting. Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA Betsey Clagg, RN, BSN June 20, 2005. 1 Thank you for attending this session.

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Preparing Managersto Deal with Difficult PeopleSome Practical Strategies1,2,3A Presentation for the 2005 OHA Annual Meeting

Kendall L. Stewart, MD, MBA

Betsey Clagg, RN, BSN

June 20, 2005

1Thank you for attending this session.

2We intend to make practical points that you can put to use in your professional lives.

3Please let us know whether we succeeded on your evaluation form.

why is this topic important
Difficult people are everywhere.1

Dealing with them is a challenge for everyone, but these folk are particular challenges for organizational leaders.

SOMC leaders believe this is the most significant challenge they face in their professional lives.

Most of us don’t deal with difficult people very well.

We could do better, and we could prepare our managers to do better.

This presentation will suggest a number of practical strategies that will help you prepare your managers to deal more effectively with these “Phantoms of the Workplace”

After masteringthe information in this presentation, you will be able to

Describe how difficult people sometimes behave,

Explain how that behavior “makes” your managers feel,

Specify how those feelings compel your managers to react,

List three practical educational strategiesthat will assist you in preparing your managers to deal more effectively with difficult people.

Why is this topic important?

1I get the biggest kick out of dealing with snobs, particularly big-city snobs. Being from Portsmouth, I

get such opportunities all the time. An executive from Columbus liked my tie. A psychiatrist from

Cleveland was appalled that someone from Portsmouth would be appointed Chair of the OPA Ethics Group.

slide3

What are some successful strategies for preparing managers for dealing with difficult people?

  • Acknowledge the extent of the problem.
  • Ask managers how difficult people behave.
  • Ask managers how difficult people “make” them feel.
  • Ask them how unpleasant feelings incline them to react.
  • Encourage more realistic expectations.
  • Detail practical strategies for dealing more effectively with difficult people.1
  • Design and deploy effective educational activities.
  • Engage managers in the learning process.
  • Arrange for opportunities to practice effective confrontation.
  • Focus on changing the manager’s behavior.
  • Promote team learning across departmental lines.
  • Document educational effectiveness.

1I was trying to teach one of my male patients to be more romantic. I know what women want.

I explained Hallmark™ cards to this man. You know what he did?

slide4

What percentage of the problems SOMC leaders face are “people” problems?

SOMC Leaders Focus Group, September 9, 2004

slide5

How do the difficult people at SOMC behave?

  • They are negative.
  • They avoid conflict.
  • They are manipulative.
  • They are pot-stirrers. They are selfish.
  • They won’t take responsibility for their behavior.
  • They are arrogant.
  • They are disrespectful.
  • They fall back into old behaviors.
  • They are passive-aggressive.
  • They are demanding and impatient.
  • They deny their behavior.
  • They disregard policy.
  • They are unmotivated and lazy.

Rank ordered by SOMC Leaders Focus Group, September 9, 2004

slide6

How do difficult people at SOMC “make” managers feel?

  • Anxious
  • Confused
  • Defeated
  • Defensive
  • Desperate
  • Determined
  • Detached
  • Disengaged
  • Disappointed
  • Embroiled
  • Frustrated
  • Helpless
  • Impatient
  • Inadequate
  • Ineffective
  • Intimidated
  • Mad or angry
  • Nervous
  • Overwhelmed
  • Powerless
  • Resentful
  • Scared
  • Sick
  • Stressed
  • Tired
  • Apathetic
  • Uncomfortable
  • Unmotivated
  • Withdrawn

SOMC Leaders Focus Group, September 9, 2004

slide7

How may these feelings compel managers to react?

  • Behave aggressively
  • Become arrogant
  • Counterattack
  • Seek out others who will commiserate
  • Condescend
  • Become defensive
  • Become guarded
  • Grovel
  • Minimize the problem
  • Become moody
  • Become obsessive
  • Placate the troublemakers
  • Protect the victims
  • Ruminate
  • Regress to defensive inflexibility
  • Behave rudely
  • Scheme
  • Seek affirmation of their perceptions
  • Indulge in tantrums
  • Ventilate destructively
  • Withdraw

SOMC Leaders Focus Group, September 9, 2004

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What are some successful strategies for dealing with difficult people?

  • Label them.1
  • Neutralize them.
  • Describe them.
  • Predict them.2
  • Inform them.
  • Involve them.
  • Ignore them.
  • Convert them.
  • Avoid them.
  • Expose them.
  • Circumvent them.
  • Use them.
  • Persuade them.
  • Confront them.
  • Rehabilitate them.
  • Discourage them.
  • Ridicule them.
  • Isolate them.
  • Punish them.
  • Extrude them.

1It is critical to tell people “how.” I suggested that leaders use the mental image of a yellow sticky note.

2We waste a lot of time hoping difficult people will change. People don’t change much. I recently took my

wife to Hawaii to celebrate our 30th anniversary. We got out “The List.”

slide9

What approach did we use in designing the educationalactivity?

  • Leadership Development Team
  • Strategic Value Leadership Conference
    • Learn and share tools and techniques
    • Promote team learning across department lines
  • Problem-oriented learning
  • Focus on changing behavior – (indicators)
  • Effective presenters
  • High energy level
slide10

What strategies did we use to engage managers?

  • Purposeful – useful strategies
  • Brevity
  • Humor
  • Storytelling
  • Informal setting
  • Provide food
  • Make it Fun
    • Theme - “SOMC Productions”
slide12

What did we consider in designing our role playexercise?

  • Not a favorite method of learning
  • Non-threatening, “safe” environment
  • Reinforce classroom theory
  • Realistic scenarios
  • Clear expectations of outcomes
  • Heterogeneous vs homogeneous groups
  • Planned “debriefing” (processing)
slide13

How did we engage the participants in the activity?

  • Theme - Getting into “character”
  • Triads: manager, employee, observer roles
  • “Scripts” for manager, employee
  • Observer role
  • Fully engage in activity – realistic
  • “Back stage” areas
  • Large group discussion
slide14

What was our approach to processing the role playexperience?

  • Completed a reaction form
    • What happened?
    • How did you feel?
    • Based on your feelings, what did you do?
    • What was the reaction?
    • What might have been done differently?
  • “Interviewed” individuals
  • Captured “best practices”
  • Applauded their acting debut
slide15

How did we document the effectivenessof the education?

  • Completed an evaluation immediately following the course
  • Asked for a commitment to deal with a difficult person within 60 days
  • Reported on their experience and completed a follow-up evaluation in 60 days
  • Measured the percentage of those who applied the learning within 60 days
  • We asked managers to estimate the percentage impact this educational experience had on their actual leadership performance.
slide16

What results did we see?

  • Attendees’ mean assessment score was 4.73 compared to previous mean evaluation scores of 4.5, 4.61, 4.54, and 4.56 following similar SOMC leadership workshops.1
  • Written comments were overwhelmingly positive.1
  • 71-percent of attendees applied their learning within 60 days.2
  • Managers estimated their leadership performance had changed by 32.5% due to this education.3

1Workship evaluation

2The return rate for the 60-day follow up survey was 30-percent.

3American Society of Training and Development assessment tool

slide17

Where can you learn more?

  • Stewart, Kendall L., et. al. A Portable Mentor for Organizational Leaders, SOMCPress, 2003 S
  • Stewart, Kendall L., “Physician Traps: Some Practical Ways to Avoid Becoming a Miserable Doctor” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, July 24, 2002
  • Stewart, Kendall L. et. al, “On Being Successful at SOMC: Some Practical Guidelines for New Physicians” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, January 2001
  • Stewart, Kendall L., “Bigwigs Behaving Badly: Understanding and Coping with Notable Misbehavior” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, March 11, 2002
  • Stewart, Kendall L., “Relationships: Building and Sustaining the Interpersonal Foundations of Organizational Success” A SOMCPress White Paper, SOMCPress, March 11, 2002

Please visit www.KendallLStewartMD.com to download related White Papers and presentations.

slide18

How can we contact you?

Kendall L. Stewart, M.D.

Chief Medical Officer

Southern Ohio Medical Center

President & CEO

The SOMC Medical Care Foundation, Inc.

1805 27th Street

Portsmouth, Ohio 45662

740.356.8153

stewartk@somc.org

Webmaster@KendallLStewartMD.com

www.somc.org

www.KendallLStewartMD.com

slide19

How can we contact you?

Betsey Clagg, R.N., B.S.N.

Director, Staff Development

Southern Ohio Medical Center

1805 27th Street

Portsmouth, Ohio 45662

740.356.2412

claggb@somc.org

slide20

What questions remain?

www.somc.org

Southern Ohio Medical Center

SafetyQualityServiceRelationshipsPerformance 