Why Some People are a Problem for You!

Why Some People are a Problem for You!

Have you noticed that some people just rub you the wrong way?  It seems that everything they say or do just bothers you.  You can’t quite put your finger on why this is or how one person can be so abrasive and difficult to work together.  There is a good explanation for why some people are so difficult for you.  Understanding why certain individuals are problematic for you can help you resolve this issue.  It is also possible for that relationship to become less difficult and for you to work together with greater harmony and productivity.

People that are difficult for me to work with usually come from the GREEN motivational value system.  They are motivated by doing things right and using the best processes.  As a RED, I want to get things done and therefore I want to get into movement.  I perceive GREEN as blocking my progress.  If I am not careful, I can easily become irritated by questions about facts, figures, etc.  I am not good at those things and I often feel like they are challenging me.  On occasion I can let that challenge become personal and begin to dislike being around those kinds of people.

Why are GREEN people difficult for me to work?  Its not because facts and figures.  Its because our motivations and values are clashing.  What is most important to me is achieving a goal.  What is most important to a GREEN is accomplishing the goal is the right way.  Usually that means slowing down the decision making, gathering more facts, and reconsidering the process.  While they are processing all of this, they are usually quiet because they are thinking.  That too creates conflict in me because I am looking for agreement and excitement about the positive future that is being envisioned.

Not only are our motivations different, but our values are different.  I value risk and they value being careful and deliberate.  I value practicality, and they are principled, not wanting to cut any corners.  It’s a wonder that we don’t have more problems working together than we do!

You have people who are opposite from you both in your motivations and values.  This is illustrated by the SDI triangle where the opposite of RED is BLUE-GREEN, the opposite of BLUE is RED-GREEN, and the Opposite of GREEN is RED-BLUE.  Generally, if a person falls on the other side of the HUB from you, you are most likely to have conflicting motivations and values that can make working on the same team challenging.

Just because it is challenging to work together with people on the other side of the triangle doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to work together in harmony and be productive.  What if you could truly become more productive because you are different?  It is your differences that can produce greater results, but only if you learn to grow in your relational awareness.

Here are four steps to take to work better with your opposite:

  1. Identify their motivation: What is most important to them?  What is most important to you is not what is most important to them.  If you are BLUE you are most concern for how decisions will impact people.  If you are HUB then you will be interested in integrating different perspectives.  Learn what is most important to the person who is opposite of you.
  2. Identify their differing values: Values spring from motivations.  We express our values in strengths.  Each MVS has natural strengths that often are used when interacting with us.  Some of these strengths may be in conflict with your strengths.  You can’t readily risk and be careful at the same time.  Discover what values are being expressed in the strengths they are displaying.
  3. Appreciating their values: It is not enough to know what their motivations and values are, you must learn to appreciate them.  Don’t skip this step.  Working together in harmony requires appreciating the strengths of your team.  Don’t see them as opposites.  See them as complementing your strengths.  When you come to appreciate what they bring to the table, you can begin to enjoy the interaction.  You may even go to each other to get what you don’t have naturally.
  4. Adjust your strengths: Relational Awareness teaches us that we can choose different strengths to deploy.  You have natural strengths that are related to your own MVS, but you can also choose strengths that are not natural for the sake of working together.  Rather than overdoing a natural strength when you are frustrated with someone, try using a strength from their MVS. It may be a challenge to do this at first.  If you are BLUE and you use Analysis, it may feel strained at first.  But learning to appreciate and deploy different strengths at time will build your team.

You cannot control the response of your team, but you can use relational awareness to build greater appreciation of your teams contributions and achieve greater results.

The statistics are overwhelming that 90% of people chose their opposites when choosing a marriage partner.  Innately, we somehow weed out people like ourselves and we choose to spend a lifetime married to someone who will compliment our strengths.  Deep down inside there is something that attracts us to the opposite.  For many people, marriage is the place to practice working together with someone who is not like us in so many ways.  By working together to understand and listen to one another we become better people and accomplish greater things.

Don’t give up on your marriage, your child or your co-worker who is not wired just like you.  Actually, it is a good thing!  Learn to practice relational awareness and use these four steps to grow in harmony.

Bruce Terpstra

Our President, Dr. Bruce Terpstra, has 36 years of pastoral ministry experience. He is a veteran of 17 years in denominational leadership and developed more than 70 new churches in the New York metro area and has given oversight to almost 400 pastors. He holds a doctorate in Leadership Development and is also the founder of 3KeyCoaching and the author of Three Passions of the Soul.