Feeling forced to work with (or for) someone you don’t like?  Take your power back by shifting this one thing….

I just got back from a professional conference – it was informative, enlightening, inspiring – everything you want from a conference – but what happened at a panel discussion session was shocking to me….


One of the panel experts was talking about how to serve difficult clients – specifically how to get them to be more cordial and respectful even though their usual demeanor is demanding, abrasive, directive, intimidating, and wrapped in a I-know-more-about-your-job-than-you-do, scowl-faced package.  Ever had that experience?  Of course you have.


He explained that although he was “directed” by his client to not show some work he had done to the President of their company, he believed a lot of that work offered a solution to the organization’s challenges.  So he decided he would show it (plus the work the client wanted showed), anyway.  Yikes!  (I was loving this story…)


Knowing he was going against the client’s expectations – and that it would (no doubt) not go over well with her – he decided he needed to shift the energy between them….


…but how?


It immediately came to him to find something he appreciated or respected in her – and tell her.  This wasn’t easy for him because she was less than warm and fuzzy and he did not agree with her eye for the work or her approach with people – at all! 


But something did come to him.


I believe, that because he was clear that his intention was to do what he felt was right for the organization without leaving her feeling belittled, disrespected or judged in any way – an idea about how to shift the energy between them presented itself to him the second she walked into the meeting room….


… a big, shiny silver necklace (a power-necklace worthy of Wonder Woman for sure), saved the day!  He stood up and compliment her necklace and how great it looked on her.  And what happened then?


“Well, in Whoville they say that the Grinch’s small heart grew THREE sizes that day. And then the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of ten Grinches plus two.”


Well it wasn’t exactly that heart-warming – but it was close!  Her frown turned upside down, her posture straightened up, she showed her cordial/friendly side – and the tough client that everyone was so afraid of became a supporter of his position when he showed the work she told him not to show in the meeting – it was a most unexpected reaction!!


He was determined to find something that he could like and appreciate about her in order to move forward productively.  He created a space for a new relationship to develop between them – a space that had room for everyone to be who they are, express themselves and feel supported – for the company that allowed new and different ideas to surface.


When he shared this story at the conference, a woman commented that it was unrealistic for a woman to do something similar to a man.  She said “A woman can’t just tell a guy he has a nice tie or something like that.”  The panel expert leaned into his mic and said “Not if it’s not authentic.”


I was stunned by this woman’s comment – is it true that women can’t compliment men in business? Surely it’s true for the woman who made the comment.  That realization impressed upon me so deeply – there’s so much opportunity for me to offer my experiences on this subject because I worked for some really tough customers in my time in corporate and I always believed one reason I did so well with tough people is because I always looked for the good in them.  I never intentionally judged their “drop and give me 20” attitudes.


People are entitled to be where they are in their consciousness and making them feel like crap about what they do that might be off-putting doesn’t solve anything.  Let me further help you shift this sentiment from your head to your heart – I will explain it to your ego the way your mother would have explained it to you as a child – be kind to people!


What’s important here is that your compliments can’t be bullshit.  They must be authentic gestures offered in the spirit of “I want you and I to work together productively and peacefully for a cause bigger than our own personal agenda’s and egos.”  Kindness (unlike it’s alter-ego – niceness), is always authentic.


I have had so many similar professional experiences like what this guy shared at the conference – too many to share.  But I will share a recent, everyday example with you about a new Yoga instructor I met.


I recently signed up for a new class – it was being held on the perfect day and time of the week for me – and I was psyched!  When I started, I could sense that this class was together awhile – then suddenly I showed up – a stranger to the class even though I was no stranger to yoga.  The instructor never got my name right even after several weeks – and my form was constantly criticized (you think you know a thing or two about downward dog after years of yoga – but my new instructor could have easily made me feel like a total yoga poser).


One holiday week when attendance was light across several classes – the studio combined all the classes going on at that time into 2 classes – a geriatric class and a moderately-seasoned yogi class.  I went into the moderately-seasoned class lead by my regular instructor and in front of everyone she asked me to leave and go into the geriatric class – she said I wasn’t advanced enough “even for this class”really!!?


Like I said, this day and time each week were ideal for me – I wasn’t going to miss my workout despite my embarrassment and hurt!  So there I was that day – just me and not one other person under mid 70s – I was a rock star in that class and I had a ball!  The next week I was determined not to miss out on my weekly, perfectly-timed yoga class despite my “mean-lady” teacher.  I also was determined to have my class experience be great!  So I decided in that next class I would find 1 thing to appreciate about the instructor.  In that class I was offered the usual rough-and-tumble comments about how my form was “wrong” (imagine how President-elect Donald Trump would say it).


Despite all that, it came to me what to appreciate and respect about her – so at the end of class I told her!  I shared that I really appreciated the opportunity to perfect my form in her class – I could see how much she knew about form and that I saw that I had a valuable opportunity to learn from her.


From that day forward she always got my name right.  She also smiled a lot more and we all always said good morning to each other and offered praise to each other as a class – the instructor even made me a class example for form a few times.  Just like that I magically went from bad form to good form – ahhh – I got the class I always wanted at the perfect time and day of the week!


A positive chink in your “enemy’s” armor is always possible and it can be accomplished with a genuine comment of appreciation or respect. It makes talking about matters at hand more calm, peaceful and it moves energy forward.


Nothing positive comes from outward demonstrations of disapproval, judgment or protest – that contracts the energy and restricts trust, tolerance and peaceful productivity.   Disliking what you see in your “enemy” is a mere projection of similar energy within you. So…


Feeling forced to work with (or for) someone you don’t like?  Take your power back by shifting this one thing….


the energy between you…


…do that by finding at least 1 thing you appreciate or respect about them and tell them!  That creates expanded space for your thoughts, ideas, intentions, and differently opinions to be received – why?  Because you demonstrated trust of their intention, tolerance for their ways, and conveyed an expectation of peace between you – even when they are being a bona-fide asshole!  Trust/tolerance/peace given is the opportunity for trust/tolerance/peace to be gained for everyone – even when you don’t agree on something!





Struggling to see the good in another you don’t have the power to just (poof) get rid of?


From now until January 20, 2017 I am offering you a “Make American Great Again” rate in honor of our 45th President – for only $45 you can get a 1 hour Take Your Power Back Breakthrough coaching session with me.


Get rid of the devil on you shoulder – experience a shifted perspective for the person you work with that is sucking the life out of you.  Regain your power to authentically deal effectively with them.  Be heard, respected and valued – create expanded space for trust, tolerance and peace – for everyone!

About Gina Calvano

Gina Calvano is a certified coach and Senior Professional in Human Resources, with over 20 years of experience as a talent management professional in both the private and non-profit sectors. With a unique approach, she combines her strategic corporate expertise and accreditations with metaphysics and transformational thinking which has resulted in people all over the world feeling good about themselves and connected to a sense of purpose.

She created the Success Readiness Bootcamp™, a step by step process that enables people to easily discover their unique talents and abilities and match them to majors, jobs, industries and leisure pursuits. Gina is also the co-author of Breakthrough! Inspirational Strategies for an Audaciously Authentic Life with NY Times Best Selling Authors Marci Shimoff, Janet Bray Attwood and Chris Attwood and Powerful Connections Made Easy™ with Aprille Trupiano, and is currently working on her next book — Caged in My Cube: The Turnaround Guide For Loving The Job You Hate.

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