Coping with difficult people: Part 6 The Know-it-all

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The know- it- all are people who want you to recognize that they know everything about anything worth knowing. The author divides them into two subcategories bulldozers and balloons.


Bulldozers
Bulldozers are highly productive and thorough thinkers who make competent, careful plans and then carry them through, even when the obstacles are significant. Bulldozers are challenging to cope with because Bulldozer’s absolute certainty makes others feel confused or stupid and leaves little room for anyone else’s judgments, creativity, or resourcefulness. Once Bulldozers set out to implement a plan of action, they are devilishly hard to discourage, even when their strategy appears to others to be headed for failure. And if things go wrong, they often see the fault as lying to those incompetents (like you and me) responsible for carrying it out.


COPING WITH BULLDOZERS
• Make sure you have thoroughly prepared yourself; carefully review all pertinent materials and check them for accuracy.
• Listen carefully and paraphrase the main points of the Bulldozer’s proposals, thus avoiding over-explanation.
• Avoid dogmatic statements.
• To disagree, be tentative, yet don’t be evasive; use the questioning form to raise problems.
• Ask extensional questions to assist in the re-examination of plans.
• Watch your own bulldozing tendencies by:
o listening for Know-It-All behavior in yourself.
o conveying your appreciation of the Bulldozer’s knowledge.
o proposing delays in action to gain time for each to review the other’s proposals.
• As a last resort, choose to subordinate yourself to avoid static and perhaps to build a relationship of equality in the future.

See also  Group Dynamics: The Psychology of Teamwork


Balloons
Balloons seek the admiration and respect of others by acting like experts when they are not. They are often unaware that they are speaking beyond their knowledge. Even though Balloons are often curious and alert to information. They can cause trouble when sketchy information is claimed as a full and accurate picture of the situation.


COPING WITH BALLOONS
• State correct facts or alternative opinions as descriptively as possible and as your own perceptions of reality.
• Provide a means for the Balloon to save face.
• Be ready to fill the conversation gap yourself.
• Cope with a Balloon when he or she is alone, when possible.


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