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THE Leadership Japan Series by Dale Carnegie Training Tokyo Japan

Oct 12, 2016

People Are A Pain


"All of our problems walk on two legs and talk back”. I can’t recall when I first came across this expression but it is true isn’t it. Most business problems can be fixed with more capital, technological breakthroughs, greater efficiencies, patience and time. People problems though are much trickier.


An after work drinks session erupts into an alcohol fuelled shouting match between two colleagues that doesn’t end there. The hostilities continue and now the entire work atmosphere is polluted with the bile between them.


The discussion about next year’s budget allocation turns nasty, as two strong willed leaders start a very public stoush aiming for some advantage over the other. Frosty relations prevail between these two silos within the firm thereafter and everyone is involved.


An innocuous remark by a colleague causes offense and now the boss has to deal with complaints about, “I can’t work with Taro anymore”.


Head Off Trouble

Rather than trying to sort out the incidents, the rivalries, the perceived insults etc., wouldn’t it be better if these didn’t arise in the first place. We are all adults – although sometimes you have to wonder about that! Why can’t individuals take more responsibility for their own actions and reactions, instead of wasting valuable time and energy on intramural feuding. We should be concentrating on beating up our business rivals not each other.


Why do these problems arise in the first place? When you think about it, people have not been taught any methodology to control their emotions. We had better fix that - here are 6 actions for when you get emotionally charged.


  1. Get cerebral

Collect your thoughts and note your emotions. Draft a note or an email, really telling the offending party how it really is and why they are an idiot. Don’t miss anything, make sure you give it to them right between the eyes. Don’t fill in the name in the email address section when writing it and don’t send it. Writing it will get all the anger out, so you can relax now that is done.



  1. Ask for input

Run the situation by someone impartial and ask for honest input. We can often fail to see the woods for the trees when we are too deep in the situation. A third party dose of reality can be helpful to improve our perspective on the issue at hand. Even if it doesn’t, just sharing the burden with others gives us some relief.


  1. Get physical

No don’t punch them out, but get yourself out of there. Take a power walk or go the gym and burn that anger off baby.


  1. Reflect

Look at the situation from their point of view. Think about what you would do if you were under all the pressure they are under or you had to deal with what is facing them. Think about what you said and how that contributed to the escalation of hostilities. Are we each perfect? No and the sooner we remember that the better. It will help us to separate our ego from the details of the issue or argument.


  1. Sleep on it

Review your “I’m angry” notes or email in the morning. Think about all the more important tasks you have that require you at your best and most energetic. Decide if this is just a total waste of your valuable time or not? If it is, then let it go and work on some concrete projects that will positively advance your business.


  1. Pick your battles.

Make a balanced, strategic judgment about whether this is worth getting emotionally charged about? Should you metaphorically duke it out with them or is it best to just take the high ground and move on?



So when things become highly volatile, don’t spontaneously combust. Pause and run through this list- like an adult!


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About The Author

In the course of his career Dr. Greg Story has moved from the academic world, to consulting, investments, trade representation, international diplomacy, retail banking and people development. Growing up in Brisbane, Australia he never imagined he would have a Ph.D. in Japanese decision-making and become a 30 year veteran of Japan. A committed lifelong learner, through his published articles in the American, British and European Chamber journals, his videos and podcast “THE Leadership Japan Series”, he is a thought leader in the four critical areas for business people: leadership, communication, sales and presentations. Dr. Story is a popular keynote speaker, executive coach and trainer. Since 1971, he has been a disciple of traditional Shitoryu Karate and is currently a 6th Dan. Bunbu Ryodo (文武両道-both pen & sword) is his mantra and he applies martial art philosophies and strategies to business.