Appreciating Differences - Jack Falt - Ottawa area, Ontario, Canada

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Book Review by Jack Falt

Brinkman, Dr. Rick & Kirschner, Dr. Rick, Dealing With People You Canít Stand: How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst, McGraw-Hill, Inc., 1994, ISBN0-07-007839-6 (pbk), pp 199

Brinkman, Dr. Rick & Kirschner, Dr. Rick, How To Deal With Difficult People: Strategies for Getting Results with the Hard-to-Handle People in Your Life - 3 Vols., CareerTrack, Vols. 1 & 2 - 1988, Vol. 3 - 1992, Vol.1 - 1:15 min, Vol. 2 - 1:54 min., & Vol. 3 - 1:29 min.

Dealing with Difficult People with Drs. Rick Brinkman and Rick Kirschner, Reno, NV: Athena Interactive, Inc., 1999, CD-ROM

Have ever you been asked how to use temperament or personality type to deal with difficult behaviour? Perhaps you talked about Survival Games by Eve Delunas or Being in the Grip by Naomi Quenk. These do get to the psychological causes of unwanted behaviour, and they both have some specific suggestions that are worthwhile following.

While it is not type based, it might also be worthwhile looking at what these authors have to offer. Their material comes in three formats: a book, a video series, and an interactive CD-ROM. If one format doesnít work, another format is likely to get the message across to you or your clients.

I have read a number of books on dealing with difficult people, but didnít get very far with their suggestions because: 1. I didnít have very many difficult people in my life, and other than reading the books, didnít need to put it into practice; and 2. I had difficulty understanding the underlying structure of the theory on which it was based.

In Dealing With People . . . (DWP) the first thing the authors have you look for is intent of the behaviour. To understand intent, think of two axes: one is a passive-aggressive axis, and the other is a task-people axis. This creates four quadrants (the kinds of difficult people are in brackets): The Get It Done people (Sniper, Tank, and Know-it-all) are in the task-aggressive quadrant; the Get It Right people (Whiner, NO Person, and NOTHING Person) are in the task-passive quadrant; the Get Along (YES Person, MAYBE Person, and NOTHING Person) people in the people-passive quadrant; and the Get Appreciated people (Grenade, Sniper, and Think They Know It All Person) are in the people-aggressive quadrant. (The four quadrants are similar to the four temperaments, but the fit is far from exact.) When you understand the intent, you can better understand the behaviour.

The material is presented with lots of examples and humour. The humour is very evident in the video where the presentation is a combination of standup comedy and serious information. The video and the CD-ROM both have vignettes that are played the less effective way and the more effective way.

With an understanding of the structure of the quadrants and then using the specific behaviours, you can change how you react. Now you have a much better chance of getting the outcome you want.

This material is quite entertaining as well as informative. It would be good resource to have on hand to help your clients, or it would be useful basis for a workshop.

The Drs. Rick Brinkman and Rick Kirschner are Naturopathic Physicians who have extended their ideas about helping people to keep well to the business world. They are professional speakers that will come to give a talk. They can be reached at or

(FYI: When ordering anything from the USA have them send it by surface mail. If it is sent by courier, a broker charges you $30 to collect the GST.)

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