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When People Make You “Crazy”

If we are all honest, people do make us “crazy” (read “stressed out”). And, if we are emotionally intelligent, we know that we make other people “crazy,” too. Here are some tips (tips of the iceberg, that is) on what to do when this happens?

  • Claim and manage your own baggage.
  • Be aware of the power of perspective.
  • Get more emotional “smarts” and skills.
  • Tune in to what your brain is up to.
  • Understand “that generation.”
  • Exercise masterful leadership through conflict.
  • Claim and manage your own baggage. We all have emotional baggage and problematic beliefs from our past, from as far back as early childhood and as recent as this morning. Gain acute awareness of your baggage to enable you to take hold of its handles to move it, as needed, so that it does not create relational problems for you. Recognize that others have baggage they will need to manage as well.
  • Be aware of the power of perspective. Keep in mind that the “map is not the territory.”[1] We all have a map of what we believe to be real and true, but it does not include everything, may not be accurate, and every map is different. We confuse our maps with reality and truth. The way we see the world doesn’t match reality, our view can only approximate it. Check your “map” against reality. Dialogue with others about your map and theirs to increase understanding of the unique perspectives present.
  • Get more emotional “smarts” and skills. Can a person be emotionally “dumb?” Yes. But they need not and must not stay that way. In fact, leaders are being judged, “not by how smart we are, or by our training and expertise, but also how well we handle ourselves and each other.”[2]
    • Work on your awareness of your own emotions and how they affect you and others. Then manage your emotions to relate more effectively to self and others.
    • Work toward understanding the emotions of others and manage yourself socially to relate to them more effectively in light of this understanding. Coaching is the unequivocal best practice for increasing emotional intelligence.
  • Tune in to what your brain is up to. When people don’t do what you expect, predict, or what is familiar to you, your brain will budget its resources toward fighting, running, or hiding — Defense. In fact, “Five times a second, at an unconscious level, your brain is scanning the environment around you and asking itself: Is it safe here? Or is it dangerous?”[3] When your brain budgets for defense, this
    • Limits its budget for rational cognitive processes and good judgment,
    • Limits your ability to see the bigger picture,
    • Limits your ability to learn,
    • Makes for very poor communication, and
    • Leads to misinterpretation of data, to name a few items of impact.

    To reduce this “craziness,” take a time out, take a few deep breaths, relax, ask questions, and listen to understand.

  • Understand “that generation.” There are about 8 generations currently living in the United States all socialized under different historic-social situations. They are all different, but not bad. As an attempt to deal with the “craziness” we judge and criticize “that” generation (whichever it is). Learn to work with and learn from other generations and appreciate their unique contribution to the world. Ask a lot of questions, listen to understand, and learn.
  • Exercise masterful leadership through conflict. When conflict inevitably arises, practice maintaining a calm, rational presence and assert yourself as needed. Lower your biases for a bit and ask a lot of questions, listen to understand, and learn. Be authentic and transparent. Stay focused on the issue, not on attacking the person(s) involved. With focus on the issues, you can better manage the conflict and hopefully bring it to some consensus. Keep possible positive creative outcomes in view and advocate for them. Time is your friend. First and foremost, practice extending love and grace to those involved.

These approaches take practice. Coaching is a best practice to support you in developing these skills. Almost daily, I help people work toward mastery in these areas.   When you do this, you will feel more confident and empowered for facing life and experiencing rich, full relationships.

For more details or to inquire about coaching on any of the above, contact us for a no-pressure, no obligation visit.


[1] Introduced in Alfred Korzybski’s 1933 seminal work, Science and Sanity: An Introduction to Non-Aristotelian Systems and General Semantics.

[2] Goleman, D. (2006). Working with emotional intelligence. (Kindle Locations 62-63). Random House Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

[3] Stanier, Michael Bungay. The Coaching Habit: Say Less, Ask More & Change the Way You Lead Forever (p. 118). Box of Crayons Press. Kindle Edition.


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