Handling irrational people

Some people just aren’t rational. Here are four ways to stay sane around them

Do you work with someone whose reasoning defies logic? Does your boss go off the deep end at the slightest thing? Is a client driving you to distraction with unreasonable demands? You can learn to deal with people who are driven by emotions rather than logic. Here are four things to keep in mind.

Manage your own emotions

Heightened emotions can be contagious. But when your emotions get out of control, so will your feelings. Work on strategies to keep you calm. This could be anything from breathing exercises to walking away from the situation and coming back later. Whatever works for you.

Address their feelings, not their rationale

Bombarding irrational people with logic won’t change their thinking. So speak their language. Address their feelings, needs and concerns. This will help the illogical person calm down. As they do so, they will think more clearly. Deal with the feelings first and the logic second.

Avoid the triggers

Often, irrational behaviour is triggered by something in particular. Some topics may be off-limits. The person may be insecure in certain situations. Perhaps particular words spark emotional reactions. Pay close attention to possible triggers and, whenever you can, avoid them.

Understand the motivation behind the behaviour

So their behaviour makes no sense to you. But it probably makes sense to them. Remember that you can never really know someone else’s true motivation. Irrational behaviour can spring from many things – experience, anxiety, attitude or just being in a bad mood. Always remember that irrational behaviour is usually based on some kind of rationale.

People will be more inclined to open up to you if you listen and show empathy. If you understand the reasons for their behaviour, you’re often better placed to do something about it. 

Train your team to stay calm in tough situations. Contact us now to find out how. 

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