Dr Rauna Shipena
Whether you have been in a leadership position for 30 years or more, in the past or in the future, or even today, you might encounter someone who possesses a prickly personality. In the near future, perhaps even today, you will encounter someone who is annoying, within your organisation, this can range from executives, board members or just general employees. When you do, you will be tempted to lose your temper. You will be tempted to stress out or to internalise unhealthy anger or exhibit bottled bitterness.
As you interact with people, you will occasionally cross paths with people who possess terrible temperaments, distasteful dispositions, infuriating character disorder etcetera. Whether you like it or not, these people will manage to weave themselves into the fabric of your life.To be forewarned is to be forearmed, anger is one letter away from danger. So, your job is to control your emotions, even if others have lost their control in meetings or during social gatherings. No matter where you go, no matter how you get there, no matter your age, no matter your profession, no matter your position, no matter your locality, you are going to encounter difficult people.
You will face people with bad attitudes, you will face people with troublesome personalities, and you will face people with terrible temperaments.When you are the CEO or board member, some of these people make it their full-time job to challenge your whole being; you will face people with troublesome personalities; you will face people with terrible temperaments. You are going to come across your fair share of angry people.
You will encounter difficult people at work, at school, home, church, playgrounds, or just about any place in between. This troublesome personality will wreck your day if you allow them to do so.
But if you are wise you won’t let them wreck your days. If you are looking for perfection in other people, you can stop looking right now, because perfect people don’t exist. When you hold a top position, expect to be the topic.
How do you deal with toxic people?
You must accept the fact that imperfect men, imperfect women, imperfect teens, imperfect children, imperfect adults, imperfect women, and men populate the entire world or are virtually everywhere.
In dealing with difficult people, we have to be realistic and must have realistic expectations and must resist the temptation to judge our neighbours too harshly. We should not be expecting others to be perfect.
We should realise that we are all falling creatures and all very hard to live with, so wisdom is to know what to overlook.
Be swift to hear and slow to speak, slow to wrath.
Some of those holding top positions are especially, gifted by God to make you feel better and well about yourself, your future and your world.
These people manage to spread encouragement and hope wherever they go.
These people are a joy to have around, however, there is the other group of executive leaders who are not so gifted, instead of sowing hopes, they sow discouragement. Instead of making you feel better about yourself, they make you feel worse.
Instead of looking forward to their presence, you dread their presence, why? Because you know that their troubled emotions might just rub off on you.
Negative emotions like their positive counterparts are contagious.
If the other person is angry, you may become angry too, the other person is highly emotional you may have trouble controlling your own emotions. If the other person is pessimistic, you may soon feel the same way. If the other person is worried, you may begin to feel worried too.
Who is pulling your emotional strings as a leader? Who has gained the power to rub off the peace and serenity that might otherwise be yours? Who possesses the power to change your emotions, and heartbeat and make you see red?
Answers to these questions will help you plan to be prepared for any emotional onslaught that is likely to occur whenever that difficult person crosses your path, either in your organisation or while you are carrying out your tasks.
How can you be sure?
Because you weren’t feeling these emotions before that executive or board member arrived on the scene and since they’re not your true emotions, you are not obliged to accept them, approve them or internalise them.
When you are confronting people, whose emotions have turned negative, remember to establish emotional distance from hot-tempered people. It is difficult to leave an exco meeting or board meeting, but find an acceptable excuse to leave the scene, because being sad can be a communicable disease.
As a leader, when you encounter somebody with a troublesome personality, as you probably will on a day to day, you may be tempted to respond with hostility or vindictiveness. Please avoid that temptation.
Leaders need to be aware that too many people take pride in dis-cautious behaviour and social media has dramatically increased our contagious troubled personalities. When tempted to lash out in anger, please hold your tongue, keep your lips closed, and stay away from social media platforms, go for a walk, exercise, take deep breaths, or find a park or garden and sit there or find a place with a water fountain, until you have calmed down.
Leaders are faced with a tough choice or a powerful temptation; ask yourself a question: what would your role model do?
When you are not sure of your next step, calm down, excuse yourself from the scene, it is the safest way, and the best way to leave. When you encounter a toxic person, it is up to you and nobody else to maintain your peace of mind. Life is too short to allow another person’s toxic personality to invade your life and ruin your day.
When a top executive or board member has gotten to a level to want to destabilise you through words or toxic behaviour, if you are a Christian, say a silent prayer, ask God to help you, ask God to give you divine calmness. If you are not a Christian pray to your God or take deep breaths and hold your tongue.
When you do, the storm will eventually pass, and you will be glad you retained your emotional stability even though the people around you were losing theirs. God instructs us to treat others the way we want to be treated, although it is sometimes very hard. When you encounter difficult people with toxic personalities, you will be tempted to respond in decidedly unkind ways.
The Bible counsels us, not to answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also become like unto him. Leaders differentiate themselves so that they can be remembered for maintaining self-control and maturity. Remember, silence is a strong weapon, become like the bottom of the ocean. When storms are raging, the bottom of the ocean or the sea is the most peaceful place.