When you are about to lose your executive presence with a difficult person

Have you ever tried to reason with a difficult person who absolutely will not listen? Anxiety builds when you think you are making a logical argument, have the facts behind you, the other person is not bending at all yet you keep arguing with them. You start to question yourself, doubting your effectiveness. Your frustration becomes apparent, unraveling of your composure and destroying your executive presence.

If after you have tried to work with someone to examine all sides of an issue and the other party still behaves egregiously, dismiss the conversation like it never happened. Walk away.

Don’t argue with fools or you will become the fool. Cut the conversation off cold. “I respectfully disagree.” and move on – walk away, address another party, get off the phone, leave the room.

This abrupt ending will send a clear message that you see no value in engaging, devaluing their perspective all together without becoming emotional. You will have just disarmed their power and left the situation with your own. The distance you create will give you a Pause Café space to calm down and give them some space to re-evaluate too. Circle back later from a completely different perspective.

When you circle back you might start with, “I know that when we addressed (XYZ) issue before we did not agree. If you were me, knowing that ………….. what would you do?” Put them in your shoes. Then continue to ask them, “How would you do that?” “And how would you do that?” Make them give you specifics that they had avoided in past conversations.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at www.MaryLeeGannon.com.