How to work effectively with difficult people
We live in a world where we can’t escape interacting with difficult people. And it is much easier to tolerate when they are outside our inner circle but when one is part of our key team members this may become a heart pain when dealing with them.
Most business leaders strive to have the best people in their team to achieve their business goals. Sometimes, they are faced with a dilemma — when the best person for the job becomes difficult to work with or out of control because they take charge of some situation undermining the business rules.
How do you handle such a situation?
First, as a Christian who runs a business, you learn to handle all situations in a Godly way and not as the flesh desires.
Prayer is the first course of action in personal life and also in business. Seeking God for wisdom to handle business challenges is important to take the best step.
Secondly, we can learn from the scriptures, let’s look at the story of David and Joab.
David faced a similar challenge on how to handle one of his men named Joab. Joab was the son of David’s sister (1Chronicles 2:16), he was the commander of David’s army and fought alongside David in most battles before and after David was made king (2 Samuel 20:23 and 1 Chronicles 11:6).
No doubt Joab was very resourceful to David, However, he also caused David trouble by carrying out executions behind David’s back as written in 1 King 2:5;
“Now you yourself know what Joab son of Zeruiah did to me—what he did to the two commanders of Israel’s armies, Abner son of Ner and Amasa son of Jether. He killed them, shedding their blood in peacetime as if in battle, and with that blood he stained the belt around his waist and the sandals on his feet.”
Despite the shortcomings of Joab, David was able to work with him for over 40 years (Joab was with David before he became king and David ruled for 40 years). There are some lessons we can learn from David on how to handle difficult team members.
Lessons from David’s approach to handling difficult team member
Lesson 1: Crisis season
For most of David’s youthful age, there were many wars he fought with his men and Joab was the commander of his army. David couldn’t remove Joab at that time because there were so many wars to be fought. And Joab was a valuable member that help to conquer many of David’s enemies (2 Samuel 12:26).
Likewise, If your business is in a crisis season like the recent Covid-19 pandemic that shut down the world, then you need to think twice before you remove a difficult employee who may be very resourceful in crisis management.
But after the crisis season and they are unrepentant of their wrong, then it’s time to let go.
Lesson 2: Wait for the right time
There is time and season for everything according to the book of Ecclesiastes. Even when you have in your mind to remove a difficult person, be patient till the right time, like David, he waited till the reign of his son Solomon to get rid of Joab;
“Deal with him according to your wisdom, but do not let his gray head go down to the grave in peace.” 1 king 2:6
Lesson 3: Evaluation of their usefulness
David had to evaluate the usefulness of Joab in his army over his removal. And it was more profitable for Joab to be among his fighting men than letting him go.
In the same way, do not make haste to remove a difficult team member without first evaluating their usefulness to the team at that particular period. If you realize your team is better off without them, then let go by all means but if otherwise, you have to keep them till the opportune time.
Takeaway: working with difficult people can be daunting but as a Christian business leader, seeking wisdom from God and evaluating their resourcefulness is paramount before taking any action.
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