Dealing with difficult people was the theme for a training course that I attended today. There was no role play, although the opportunity to be objectionable and cantankerous was clearly relished by many. Instead there was ample opportunity for interaction by the trainer and the participants who were all collaborative lawyers practising in the North East and who are always keen to hone their soft skills.
During the course of the session it materialised that, for many of us, difficult people are not so much clients going through the trauma of a relationship breakdown but rather the solicitor acting for our client’s estranged spouse. The difficult professional is not, of course, a collaboratively trained lawyer but instead someone who can create even more mayhem to what is already a delicate but confused situation, simply by flexing an inflated ego, be it his own or his client’s. The wrong choice of phrase in a letter, a bullying strategy, an unnecessarily aggressive stance and the warming up of muscles for a fight are classic traits. They expect fire to be met with fire and the process of resolution in the best interests of the whole family is seriously undermined.
However, as result of the assistance of coach Andrew Pearce from Prydale Partners, such combatants can in future expect their tactics to be met with disabling responses. Never underestimate the power of silence, body language or a collaborative practitioner who knows the secrets for securing control.