How to Handle Bullies and Aggressive People in Meetings and Everywhere Else

Handling Bullies and Aggressive People
A friend was recently seeking advice because she had been put into a leadership position and found herself suddenly dealing with aggressive people who were dominating her meetings.
This was some of my advice, “What a great opportunity to practice setting and holding boundaries.
I have tons of experience leading meetings, workers, and projects where I had to learn how to handle bullies and other aggressive people. 
 
If you set an agenda for each meeting, then it is easier to say “we must move on to the next topic.” Sometimes if people simply don’t know how to play nice, then I take one meeting or part of a meeting to teach them. Teach them how to brainstorm, how everyone’s opinion matters and that its fine to debate a topic, but not to be unkind to others in the process.
 
The “bullies on the playground,” as I like to call them, can absolutely ruin a good time. Sometimes all their aggression and domination of a meeting is a little immature child who never felt heard. Acknowledging them, thanking them for their ideas and contributions, etc. can sometimes pacify this immature child within.
 
If it persists, I would talk with them privately outside the meeting and discuss how “aggressive” they seem and if there is a way to tone that down for meetings. Of course you can’t come right out and say aggressive or anything that might turn on that confrontational aspect of the person.
 
Read everything you can about personality types, DISC for example, group dynamics, that sort of thing.
 
My best ally in moments like this is just to stay centered and balanced no matter what and listen for that still small voice within to gently nudge me in the right direction on what to say and do in each now moment. Doing things that way has had absolutely miraculous results. I’ve done some pretty crazy things inside teams and it’s all worked – because it was my gut / intuition inspiring me to do so. For me its about “feeling out” the situation and each person and not so much a figuring it out with my brain.
 
You have to find a way to genuinely like and appreciate all the people, even the ones you wish weren’t part of the meeting.

My first spiritual teacher, Stuart Wilde, had this great technique. You close your eyes before a meeting or situation and you see the person shrinking down to a tiny little person about 1 1/2 inches tall. You see them so small they can run around on your hand. In diminishing their size physically, you are also diminishing their perceived power over you or situations. Instead of a giant monster in the way of joy or productive meetings, they become a comical little silly thing that makes you laugh. It shifts the energy enough to actually make a difference. Nothing has really changed of course, except your opinion about all of it.

Best of luck!”

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D. Takara Shelor is a bestselling author, award-winning speaker, engineer, and consultant helping individuals and organizations discover their true magnificence so they can thrive in business and in life. She acts as a catalyst and facilitator of radical positive change providing tools, training, and support to people who are tired of feeling suck and are ready to catapult themselves into high gear both personally and professionally. She says, "Life is a magnificent adventure ... remember to enjoy the ride!" Get her free 7 Secrets to Dancing Through Life EmPOWERed, EnRICHed, and Living in Joy ebook to join her email list by visiting her gift page Enjoy Takara's Magnificent U Bestselling Author Blog: Magnificent U
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