Dealing with Difficult People

All organizations have them. Most supervisors spend extra time dealing with the problems that difficult people create. Often these difficult individuals are unaware of how others see them; instead they typically focus on their technical expertise, which is indeed useful. But they could contribute so much more if their poor social skills didn't get in the way.

A new system to help employees with poor social skills

1. Give them massive, unbiased evidence of their need to improve. The opinions of one or two others, even from an immediate supervisor, are often easy to discount. No one giving advice is perfect, and any relationship is filled with emotional factors, self-serving agendas, etc. Truly honest face-to-face comments on another's social faults are both rare and difficult to express.

2. The Social Quotient survey provides the impartial evidence needed. An individual can discount the opinions of several others, but it is impossible to ignore the opinions of the majority of one's work associates. It is even harder to disregard opinions that were given in complete confidentiality and without any particular individual in mind as the subject. Even 360-type evaluation systems cannot offer the full impartiality of the Social Quotient survey.

3. We are only motivated to change those faults whose reality we accept. This notion, from the experience of psychologist/ author Branden, is the key to individuals making useful changes in their approach to others. The low scores that some get in a Social Quotient survey are an undeniable reality, and usually lead to an internal motivation for change. This internal motivation is far more powerful than any evaluation by a supervisor or the comments of several friends.

4. 2400+ Social Quotient surveys reveal which traits others really value. These traits are similar to the social skills employers look for when interviewing job applicants. Fortunately for most people, fixed characteristics like height, attractiveness, or ethnicity seem to have little effect on a person's likability. Instead, SQ research shows that general happiness, having an upbeat, positive outlook, and being courteous are among the most valuable social traits. With effort, these skills can be learned.

5. A later SQ survey can provide useful feedback on a person's progress. Prior to the SQ survey, measurements of social skills have been subjective and difficult to compare over time or with the results of others. Individuals familiar with a test could bias their answers. These flaws do not exist with the SQ survey, making it an excellent tool to record the social skills progress of a "difficult" employee.

6. Administering the SQ survey takes 30- 40 minutes.

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