Dealing with demanding clients, complaining customers or difficult colleagues is often distracting and can leave you feeling drained and irritated. In this frame of mind, you are less productive and have less patience for the clients and people you work with. The key to dealing with difficult people, without becoming drained, is about understanding everyone's 'Pressure Profiles' and knowing how to make them work together.

There is a lot of good psychology written about personality types that explains how to work with different people, based on their patterns of behaviour (I remember the endless 'required research reading' when I was a psychology student). However, it was during the years when I was a Shiatsu Practitioner, where I noticed that the way people processed pressure greatly influenced their 'personality type', and how they communicated, resolved issues, and negotiated with others.

When you deal with a demanding customer, energy builds up or drains out from your body. This energy movement creates changes in you through 4 spectrums: Mentally (problem solving, perspective and focus), physically (muscle tension, strains, and gesture patterns), emotionally (intensity and self belief) and Lifestyle (wellbeing, personal achievement, and connection with others). The degree of change that takes place in each of these areas creates an overall energy, known as your 'Pressure Profile',

By being able to read a person's Pressure Profile, you will understand why they behave the way they do, how to pick the signs, how to respond to them, and what to do to help them feel calm and communicate clearly.

Your pressure profile can, and does, change from moment to moment, depending on the situation or people whom you deal with. This is why it is important to be able to pick the pattern as they change and adapt with them. Here are 4 Pressure Profiles:

A. Biter
Much like a kettle, a Biter's energy moves up and out. The Biter is vocal when under pressure; they openly argue, yell and let off steam. The flip side is that they can be good communicators who say what they mean. The building of energy can be seen in shoulder tension, facial tension, or tightness in the chest. They are emotionally fast responding, appear self confident, and tend to speak before they think.

When dealing with a Biter, you need to let them get their energy out and express themselves. If you are a Biter, you need to practice expressing your views or emotions without intimidating or dumping.

B. Growler
Like a pressure cooker, a Growler's energy moves up, but stays in. The Growler is reflective when under pressure; they stew over details, analyse, and suppress their feelings. The flip side is that they thoroughly think through their emotional responses and maintain their composure during high pressure situations. The building, and containing, of energy can be seen in the rigidity of neck and upper body movement, often resulting in tension headaches and shoulder/neck pain. They are often impatient, somewhat anxious, can experience stomach or bowel upsets, and speak in a higher toned and faster speech.

When dealing with a Growler, you need to help them open up and get them talking. If you are a Growler, you need to practice expressing your points of view and let go of needing to be perfect.

C. Sinker
Like a sponge, a Sinker's energy moves down and absorbs at the same time. The Sinker is melancholy when under pressure – they complain, whinge and worry. The flip side is that they are in touch with how they feel and often relate well to others and are able to get them to open up. The sinking of energy is represented in a physical slump in posture, contraction in the chest and abdomen, occasional stomach bloating, and sluggishness. They tend to be more pessimistic and display less confidence in their abilities.

When dealing with a Sinker, you need to keep them focused, motivated and on track. If you are a Sinker, you need to practice not getting caught up in complaining and focus on what is going right and the objectives you want to achieve.

D. Drainer
Like a stone, a Drainer's energy is heavy and moves down quickly. The Drainer become overwhelmed and exhausted under pressure – they become overloaded, exacerbated, and depressed. The flip side is that they understand their boundaries and are able to step back and say 'no' when they need to. The heavy energy is represented in lack of lustre in their face, voice and energy. They tend to be withdrawn, introverted and isolated.

When dealing with a Drainer, you need to offer them support, empathy and understanding. If you are a Drainer, you need to know your limits and practice not taking people too personally.

When you can read your customers, clients or colleagues Pressure Profile, it makes it so much easier to relate to them and resolve issues, because you understand how they feel and what you need to do and say to relate with them.

Author's Bio: 

Michael Licenblat B.Sc.(Psych) is a Resilience Expert who helps people in business bounce back fast from pressure, stress and burnout in their work and life. He is a professional speaker, coach and author of three books.

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