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Dealing with defensive behaviors

by James
(San Antonio, TX)

Touchy people are incredibly difficult to communicate with. As her boss, I am up against a wall with one particular employee who seems to turn off when I needed to give her corrective feedback.

I am a good leader. And I like to think I am a reasonable guy, easy to approach.

I get a little progress when I enter the conversation with clear openings about the fact that I need to tell her something. But it seems to come back to the same finish - she blurts something defensive out and I cannot get past the real feedback that I need to give her.

Any help appreciated.

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Jun 03, 2009
defensive behaviors
by: Chris


as a leader, there is coaching, understanding and then there is "tough love". What I mean is, I think you are at the point of sitting down, one to one, not behind your desk but beside the persone and get it out:

Challenge his/her attitude, dig deeper, understand, but remember: people are watching you manage the behavior, it doesn't mean you must give in to avoid outbursts, you must use empathetic discipline.

Montreal, Canada

Mar 13, 2009
Keep feedback coming
by: Diane

Hi James - I have found that the best way to deal with defensive behaviors is to constantly give the person feedback. Don't be swayed by emotional outbursts. Instead, do what you have to do to deliver the message and get her to engage.

Sooner or later, she will realize that her emotional reactions are not making a difference. (Maybe later ... but what is your choice anyway?)

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