Unit 10: Dealing With Problem People

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It’s not possible to get along with everyone. In this chapter, we will talk about how to deal with people who are continually causing problems. They may not be “bad people” just people doing “bad things.”

Every leader will deal with conflict and turmoil at some point during their tenure as a leader. Some leaders will deal with it more than others, but make no mistake, everyone will deal with it at some time or another. Conflict is an unavoidable byproduct of individuality. The fact that there are no two people on this planet that are exactly the same means that no two people will share exactly the same views on any given subject. It is not your difference of opinions, but how you respond to them that defines you as a leader. Your success as a leader is not determined by your ability to agree, but your ability to disagree and still move forward in a positive manner.

When dealing with “problem people,” I find it best to remember that other than life and death, there are no absolutes in this world. We live in a world where it is popular if not profitable to declare one’s “rightness.” Our need to right often override our ability to be objective. Once we have determined and decided upon our “rightness” we feel the need to share it with everyone around us. Somehow we confused the volume button “correctness” button as we share our opinions with everyone around us, whether they ask for them or not. We have created a culture where loud means right and shouting mean strength.

Entire network shows and syndicated radio broadcasts are dedicated to people who believe that with a greater audience comes to a greater sensibility and correctness. I think it is important to remember that as a leader, as your audience grows, so does your responsibility to be sensitive to others’ thoughts and ideas. You don’t need to hold court and share your opinions. You don’t need to keep a tally of who was right and who was wrong. Let your actions be your words and humility be your mantra.

Even though you will face people who you believe to be difficult, that does not make them wrong and you right. Few ideas are as simple as black and white. Even black and white photos are mostly grey. It is a fair assumption that on the other side of the disagreement is someone who sees you as being just as wrong as you see them when the truth is probably somewhere in the middle and your statements are based more on feelings than actual fact. People rarely fight over fact. It is our feelings that stir our emotions and impair our judgment during heated moments.

The following questions are designed to help you get in the right mindset before watching the video.

In your group or section, who are you most likely to struggle with this year?

Are you willing to relinquish your power in order to maintain peace? If so, what powers could you give them to help them feel engaged and involved in the process?

LEADERSHIP TIP: Remember, being right is of little value when it is causing everything to go wrong.

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