Part 2 of 4 – How to work with ambitious, forceful, impatient, and strong willed colleagues?

When I ask clients what their biggest day to day challenge is, their answers often include managing “difficult” people, which for many, equates to people who are different from themselves. On further discussion about how they relate to people and what they’ve tried so far, I hear people say things like ” I treat them how I would wish to be treated myself.” Whilst a laudable aim, a more effective approach is to treat people how they (not you) would wish to be treated, and of course that will vary depending on their personal style of behaviour and communication.

Although everyone will display all four styles to varying degrees, they usually have a stronger preference for one style in particular. Managers and leaders who develop greater self-awareness and an appreciation of the behavioural needs of their team members are better equipped to create a working environment which stimulates motivation and commitment.

Who do you know who is ambitious, forceful, decisive, strong-willed, independent and goal-oriented? They like a challenge and are competitive and if they are not challenged enough they can become trouble makers. They are good problem solvers and will work long hours to crack a tough problem.

What they want:

  • Power, authority and control over themselves and others
  • Prestige and position
  • The chance for promotion
  • Results
  • To know the reasons behind things
  • To have a wide scope of operation
  • Freedom from controls, supervision and detailed work
  • Efficiency both from themselves and others
  • New, innovative and varied activities

What helps:

  • Being clear, specific, brief and to the point.
  • Sticking to business.
  • Being prepared with support material in a well-organized “package.”
  • Providing tough assignments to conquer
  • Specifiying  what results they can expect, and what results are expected of them
  • Emphasising that  rules and regulations exist – and for a reason

What doesn’t help:

  • Talking about things that are not relevant to the issue.
  • Leaving loopholes or cloudy issues.
  • Appearing disorganized.

So if you have someone in mind, what can you do, starting right now, to work more effectivley with them?

“Happy Learning!”

2 Responses to Part 2 of 4 – How to work with ambitious, forceful, impatient, and strong willed colleagues?

  • Great questions Mark

    The person whose ambitions exceed their ability would benefit from direct and specific behavioural feedback on where you see the gap (ambition vs ability.) It may be they are not aware of it. They could be coached to bridge the gap or deploy other strengths to compensate for it.

    I would suggest the person whose ambitions can’t be met within the organisation needs to be told that and then you would be able to discuss the implications and impact of that. It may that other benefits of being with this org would be enough but if not, it’s better to let the person go with your blessing, than keep them there under false pretences that could result in disillusionment and disruption.

    I’d welcome other views on this.

  • So how do you deal with ambitions that either exceed the individuals ability or cannot be met within the organisation? How do you communicate this without risking the loss of a capable member of a team?

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