Recently, I attended a business meeting where one of the participants, Richard, was very disruptive. He is the type of person who wants to dominate every situation. He likes to talk so he can hear his wonderful wisdom shared with others.
I think you know the type of person I’m describing … arrogant and self-centered.
The situation with Richard worsened over time, as he started to make direct comments about the points I was sharing, such as the following scenario:
ME: “I think we need to consider the risk factors across the entire industry, especially as they impact the work we do.”
RICHARD: “I’m not sure about that. It seems to me we should first focus on our own problems and issues. I personally do not care about what happens in the industry. It has been my experience that if we deal with what we can control, we are better off. I know there are people who want to think of the macro stuff, but that makes little sense to me, and I have a ton of experience in this area.”
By paying close attention to what Richard is saying, the discussion centers around his immense knowledge. He wants to tell us how much he knows, and essentially tries to convince others they know very little.
Over the past few months, I’ve been in several meetings with Richard. Even when the gatherings are via Zoom, he still annoys me. In fact, in one case, I considered turning my video camera and audio off when he talked.
What’s worse is that Richard’s arrogance and commandeering approach began to occupy my mind during the day, and this made me upset at myself. He is now getting under my skin when we are not in meetings, and I needed to do something to get back in control of the situation.
Time to Grow
I’m fortunate to have a few mentors who are willing to share their experience with me. I set up a lunch meeting with Craig, and I shared my viewpoint of the situation.
After listening carefully to my summary of how Richard was a disruptor, Craig said … “Jimmie, God puts problem people in front of us as a growth opportunity. The reason you encountered Richard is to remind you that you need to grow.”
I need to grow! The problem here is Richard – not me!
Near the end of the lunch, I calmed down and realized what Craig was trying to tell me. The fact is that I will encounter many other situations in the future. I will run across people who are inconsiderate, unhappy, arrogant, and unpleasant.
How I handle these situations depends on the skills I have honed over the years. The point here is that if I want to succeed both professionally and personally, I must take the initiative to find the techniques that work best with difficult and problematic individuals.
Before heading to our respective cars, Craig gave me a firm handshake and a manly hug … and he said …
Remember … “If it’s to be … it’s up to me.”