Nearly everyone I coach wants help handling someone difficult, usually a boss, someone who reports to them, or spouse.
When I ask my client why the difficult person behaves how they do, they answer how everyone does: they tell me how the person annoys them. But describing their behavior doesn’t say why they do it. What they do is the result of their motivation. It’s like describing the noise a car that needs repair makes.
If you have a problem with someone, you want to change something—their behavior, your reaction, or both, but always emotions. If you want to influence emotions, focus on emotions. Influence and motivation mean changing emotions. Ignoring someone’s emotions cripples your ability to influence them. Talking about behavior when someone asks about emotions cripples your ability even more.
In car language, if you want to fix a car, know how its engine and other systems work. When you go to the mechanic, you describe the noise the car makes, but to fix it, know how it works.
Not knowing how to fix your car means you have to go to a mechanic, which only costs time and money. No big deal.
Not knowing how to lead limits your potential in your relationships, well-being, and career.
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