Sun | Oct 22, 2017

Difficult People: Meet Ivan - Frustration Catalyst?

Published:Sunday | June 14, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Life is difficult and seems to get more so every day. We are stressed by the demands of our jobs, our families, and people we interact with daily, and we get bogged down. But before we get a new job and interact with different people, maybe all we need to do is change our approach.

This week, we continue our series, Change your Mindset, Change your Life. With the help of certified behaviour modification coach and author Trevor E. Smith, we will help you through some of the bumps and scrapes of life - to be more productive, deal with

difficult people, and a host of other topics, with his insightful perspective and boost of confidence for life.

Today, we introduce a character that creates a fair bit of frustration in his varied manifestations. Let's have a look at 'Ivan' and how he acts and interprets certain situations. Understanding Ivan will help us appreciate why people act the way they do, reduce frustration and build stronger relationships. Today, we get a better understanding of the backdrop to some of our love-hate experiences.

#1: You had a rough day at work. Ivan is aware what time he is to pick you up because you want to leave on the dot of four. You wait and wait ... . Not today, Ivan, not today!!

#2: The VP of sales wants to close off the month's sales early to meet the reporting deadlines. Bank on dear Ivan to come smiling with a fat order book - two hours after cut-off with VP breathing fire.

#3: The parent-teacher consultation identified that Ivan is very bright. However, teacher thought he was not living up to his potential. "If he would only be more focused." Mom points to the noise Ivan uses when studying.

Recall the D-I-S-C behavioural styles: dominance, inducement, steadiness and conscientiousness?

Ivan represents the inducement style. Here is Ivan's perspective:

For case #3 above: Ivan gets what is being taught the first time. He is bored when it is repeated a third time and talks to his friend sitting next to him: "Engage me if you want my attention".

Ivan also takes issues with his mother. People are different. He is not distracted by the loud music while studying. Ivan goes further to highlight a fundamental problem that people have in appreciating I-Style behaviour.

He might say: "Mom, I was shattered by what you said to Aunt June at Sonia's recital. You wanted Sonia and I to become musicians. In my view, a musician plays musical instruments (plural). So I opted to learn to play many instruments. Sonia sits at the piano and practises scales all day, driving me crazy. But there it is, the world celebrates her as a concert pianist. I have no problem with that.

"My concern is that I thought my mother would understand me. So I was disappointed when you told Aunt June that I could be like Sonia 'if I was only serious'. Do you know that I spend more time practising music than Sonia does?"

Mom fails to get the message - like the rest of the world. To you, the key to success is to identify a niche and excel in it. Give laser focus to one thing - however limited the scope - and you will gain more respect than tackling many challenging pursuits. In effect, less is more.

Ivan wants respect for his versatility and recognition that there is no one 'right way'.

For case #2: Ivan the salesman is amused. His manager is torn between hugging him for yet again helping to exceed the sales quota, or pretending to be angry.

Ivan: "It is not reports that pay the bills, but sales. I am not a renegade - I just see things from another perspective."

For case #1: "Sweetheart, I knew what your day was like and I was determined to bring you your favourite box of chocolates. Sorry it took longer than I expected. I am always trying to please you!"

Ivan has the capacity to produce a warm feeling to temper anger and frustration ... love/hate.

Bottom Line: The source of the frustration that many have with the I-Style is their craving for variety and flexibility. Since we work on what we can control, we can reduce our frustration when we stop trying to put 'Ivan' in a box. He colours the cow purple and outside the lines. Expect the unexpected and adjust to accommodate it. Celebrate his creativity and accept that he is fun - truth be told.

Request a F-R-E-E copy our Anger Management e-book and help reduce domestic violence. Take a stance. Join the mission: E-mail: info@swpacademy.com.

n Trevor E. S. Smith is a behaviour modification coach with the Success with People Academy, which is recognised by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) to offer Professional Development Credits for the SHRM-CPSM or SHRM-SCPSM certifications. Joint venture partner Extended DISC/FinxS Caribbean. Website: http://swpacademy.com