Sunday, December 30, 2007

Grenade Person

After a brief period of calm, the Grenade person explodes into unfocused ranting and raving about things that have nothing to do with the present circumstances. In Dealing with People You Can't Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst, Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner write about dealing with Grenade people.

Your Goal
Take control of the situation. Brinkman and Kirschner write:

"In essence, your goal is to take control of the situtation when the Grenade starts to lose it. Though it is impossible for you to stop a Grenade from exploding once the pin is pulled, Grenades can stop themselves given the right circumstances. You can create those circumstances."

Action Plan
Brinkman and Kirschner provide prescriptive guidance for dealing with the Grenade person:
  • Get the person's attention. To get people's attention when they are losing control of themselves, call their names, raise the volume of your voide so you can be heard through the explosion, and wave your hands slowly back and forth in front of you.
  • Aim for the heart. Show your genuine concern for these problem people by saying what they need to hear. By listening closely, you can determine the cause of the explosion, then backtrack while reassuring them of your concern. When you hit the heart you'll be suprised how quickly the Grenade calms down.
  • Reduce intensity. Reduce your volume and intensity.
  • Time off for good behavior. Don't try and have a reasonable discussion about the cause of the explosion during the explosion. Take a time out, whether 10 minutes, an hour or a week, then have a meaningful follow-up ont he episode of temper.
  • Grenade prevention. Find the pin and don't pull. If you can find what pulls out the pin on a Grenade, you can act to prevent it from being pulled again. If you have a good enough relationship, you could simply come right out and ask the Grenade what makes them mad. Start by stating your intent clearly, "I want to reduce the conflict with you." Then use clarifying questions to get specific on the cause of anger. A useful question is, "How did you know when to get angry?"

Key Take Aways
Here's my key take aways:

  • Stay objective. Don't get wrapped in the emotions. To help master your emotions and avoid reacting, see Master My Stories.
  • Find a way to agree with your critic. This takes the wind out of their sails and it helps you establish rapport. It also helps you avoid getting defensive or overly emotional. See How To Deal with Criticism and Disarming Technique.
  • Find the root cause. Questions are a good way to find what's behind the attacks. Don't take things at face value.

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