We all encounter them, we all can be cut by them, sometimes if we are in a down spot, we can all BE them!

It’s true though that sometimes people seem stuck there, consistently nasty. Often due to a tough life, a terrible upbringing, even illness – sometimes issues we can’t even comprehend. It’s so often the case that their start hasn’t been the greatest. The challenge for each of us who seek to lead anyway, is how to encounter these people and deal with them as a leader would.

I’ve heard a favourite speaker, Richard Rohr, speak on the topic of encountering people who seem like the world is on their shoulders. What hope do they have of ever changing if we, in a better place, don’t try and lift them out of it. This contrasts with our natural reaction to simply snap back or think ‘what a jerk’ and choose to be hurt and choose a ‘warring’ reaction.

Richard wisely comments that if we do choose to snap back or respond in kind to such a person, all we do is confirm what they think about the world, that it is horrible and people are nasty… all we are doing is confirming their behaviour, for what reason does anyone have to change when the world – what they believe it to be – is just like that.

What Richard encourages anyone to do is rise above the treatment we are receiving and simply respond in kindness, no matter what. When we do that, we show such a person a different world, a world where there is kindness, nice people and people willing to help others out and maybe, just maybe, if they encounter enough such people, they may choose a better path for themselves.

Daniel