In order to listen and lead the difficult person, we must make at least four wise movements: (1) connect with his heart like a Lego (Proverbs 20:5); (2) deflect his difficult behavior like a shield (Proverbs 17:9); (3) reflect his heart like a mirror (Proverbs 27:19); and (4) direct him toward wisdom like a highway sign (Proverbs 24:11-12). Each practice is performed uniquely with each respective difficult type (1 Thessalonians 5:14).
A difficult person is disconnected from the hearts of those around him. His co-workers, family members, and friends often become stuck on his external behavior and never make a connection with his heart. In order to do so, we must ask questions about his choices, thoughts, feelings, and even his prayers. Then we must listen. Solomon said: “The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out” (Proverbs 20:5).
When you encounter any person, recognize that he has the capacity to be difficult in at least one of the following ways: as an aggressive, a complainer, a people pleaser, or a passive resistive. Before any difficult behavior begins, connect with that person’s heart. Ask questions and learn about his choices, thoughts, feelings, and prayers. This will establish a heart connection through listening and serve as preventive maintenance for the relationship. When that person becomes difficult, ask yourself, “Why?” Now that you have a heart connection, you can examine his desires and continue to do so through asking and listening.