We are often faced with difficult personalities in the workplace. And sometimes we need a strategy for dealing with unresponsive people. Here is a short list of tips for dealing with unresponsive people.
Dealing With Unresponsive People
The unresponsive react to difficult situations by remaining silent. Some avoid their fears―to limit personal risk―and become unresponsive and non-committal. Others use silence as an aggressive device to deny access. Either way, unresponsive behaviour requires patience and tact.
He who does not know how to be silent will not know how to speak. – Ausonius
#1 Ask Open-Ended Questions
Ask open-ended questions. That is, those starting with what, why or how? This will―in time―show the person that you expect them to get involved more often than usual when dealing with you.
#2 Wait for a Response
When you ask a question be patient and wait for a response. Even though silence is uncomfortable resist the temptation to step in and rescue them.
#3 Listen Actively
When they reply, be attentive, listen actively and allow them to be vague. Encourage them to add detail with additional open-ended questions.
When they do not respond be ready to reschedule your meeting and revisit the issue again. Before breaking summarise what was said and list any actions you will take.
Never allow them to believe that issues will be dropped if they ignore or show apathy toward them. Always follow up as this will show genuine interest in their ideas and result in more confident discussions.
Dealing with unresponsive people can be frustrating and difficult because the communication barrier they put up. Use these tips and emotional intelligence―other awareness―to help them converse openly.
Have Your Say
How often do you tolerate silence? When was the last time you helped someone express their feelings? What advice would you give to someone dealing with unresponsive people? Please join the discussion.
Creative Commons image courtesy Hilde SkjÃ¸lberg.