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Dealing With Difficult People: Slumped Susan

By vts | August 3, 2016
Dealing With Difficult People: Slumped Susan

Here’s a timeless truth: Leadership is influence–nothing more, nothing less. If a leader has no one following, he’s only taking a walk. Of course, dealing with difficult people can be challenging when someone isn’t easy to influence. Some followers are difficult to connect with. What happens when a follower who had a great deal of momentum begins to fall behind? What does a leader do when this follower stumbles or stops altogether? Slumped Susan is such a follower. She was a good performer, someone who got results and approached her tasks with enthusiasm. But somewhere on the journey, she fell off the tracks. Now, with no momentum or confidence, she’s barely moving. Leading Slumped Susan requires you to understand her, be willing to listen, and give her the tools to grow. If Susan believes that you support and believe in her, she’ll be more likely to start moving forward again.

Understanding Slumped Susan:

  • Her Attitude: Depressed
  • She is Motivated by: Coaching
  • Her Strength: Past Success
  • Her Weakness: Pessimism

Listening to Slumped Susan:

  1. Privately sit down with her and discuss her slump.
  2. Let her talk about the good old days.
  3. List what she did when things went bad.
  4. List what she did when things went well.
  5. If she desires to change, develop a game plan.

Leading Slumped Susan:

  1. Remove her from others while she’s in the slump.
  2. Reprioritize her workload.
  3. Remain with her as much as possible.
  4. Require her to do what is right, not what she wants to do.
  5. Remember to encourage her as much as possible.

Do you have a Slumped Susan in your company or department? Do you lead one? With coaching and positive attention from the leader, Susan can regain her confidence and begin to shine again.

To learn more techniques for dealing with difficult people, click the names: Critical Carl, Fearful Fred, Excited Eddie, Grandstand Gary, and Disorganized Debbie.

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