Who makes you see red?
Most of us can think of at least one person who, just by the mention of their name, can make our fists clench. But what happens when that person is someone in your business? A peer, a competitor, a client, an employee – what if they’re the one who drives you crazy?
Maybe it’s a shady competitor or a peer who takes advantage of clients. Maybe it’s a client who takes advantage of an agent, or someone cooking up rumors in a back office somewhere to gain an industry edge. In the service industry that is Real Estate, there is ample opportunity for people to hurt people. We need to figure out how to work with people who drive us crazy.
How can we keep working with those who hurt us?
First, we need to admit we are hurt. We are allowed to have emotions. We are human, and do not need to ‘toughen up’ or ‘hold it together’. Pain is a legitimate feeling (even in North America). We need to give ourselves permission to feel. Then, and only then, can we actually address those emotions.
Then starts a difficult process of breaking free. Before the hurt turns toxic and becomes bitterness, we need to run. Flee even, quickly before bitterness takes hold! To escape though, we must drop the heavy weight we carry. That suitcase full of revenge fantasies? We’ve got to drop it and never pick it up again. Let it go. I know, they deserve everything in that case, but this is not about them anymore. We’re saving ourselves here.
We’re not running from the person by the way – we still have to work with them. We’re running from the suitcase of revenge fantasies. Because it’s that desire to exact justice that will keep us stewing in anger. And that will cripple our business dealings with that person. Maybe it won’t be visible at first, but bitterness is a slow burn, and will eventually erupt. That’s some self-inflicted damage we really want to avoid.
Basically, what we’re doing is forgiving. And it doesn’t make things rosy and easy, or even repair trust. Forgiveness is not friendship. It’s not even necessarily reconciliation. It takes boundaries, caution and some time to restore broken trust. Forgiveness is just releasing our hold on the angry suitcase. It’s letting God exact justice. Then we’re freed from the stewing and conspiring and the hurting. It takes that responsibility off of our plate, and allows us to move forward.
How does one work with difficult people?
Drop the angry suitcase, adjust boundaries, repeat.
What has helped you through difficult work relationships?
I’d love to hear it in the comments below!