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  • By: Lynda Stephen

How to Deal with a Rigid Mind

To successfully deal with rigid minds we must first understand why they are like this. There can be many reasons for this problem. Rigidity implies an inability to adjust easily to change, or to be closed off towards flexibility. In the workplace it is not possible to work with others if we are not open to ideas other than our own.

Plainly and simply, it is respectful to the other person, to help them take the first step towards being more flexible. There will be specific remedies, or ways to manage people depending on their personality, their training and even possibly neuroses. Take the controlling person for instance, he feels safe in a structured situation. He would have to be encouraged to relax and even to enjoy life more by doing fun things more often. The person with a rigid mind must be reassured that exploring other possibilities is alright.

Letting go of rigidity will be difficult for some people depending on how ingrained the practice is. It helps for them to start to make small changes at first. Relearning new ways of doing something can be presented as a reward for compromise. For example, you could say, ''If we do this your way then we will try my way on the next project.'' Compromise can open the rigid mind to ways of embracing change.

The following points should assist anyone dealing with rigidity:

1. Find out what the rigid person does for fun and make that activity accessible for them.

2. Encourage a balance between rigidity and flexibility by offering a safety net that guarantees joint responsibility for success or failure of a project. This protects their reputation for quality work.

3. Show them how tolerance for others' needs gets the job done better by reducing tension and stress as well as saving time.

4. Suggest that they should do relaxing exercises before engaging with others in order to reduce their anxiety and their need to control.

5. Remind them that the success of any project is more than simply following a set of rules. Explain that cooperation is also needed.

6. Explain how flexibility leaves others feeling more relaxed and as a result will bring in more work due to good recommendations from happy clients. For example, "John completed the work on time and is a very good and cooperative worker", is much better than simply, "John completed the work on schedule."

7. If there is fear of a breach of a contract that allows for non-payment of work done, and you have verified that this is a valid fear, it can be discussed amicably with all parties concerned. The lack of flexibility often reflects a need to self-protect and could suggest a generally distrusting or cautious nature. This fear must be allayed before any progress is made.

8. If the rigid mind is open to acknowledging their limitations suggest they make daily small changes to practice being more flexible.

9. As mentioned before, extol the virtues of compromise on both sides.

10. Ascertain that the complaints about rigidity come from people who are reasonable, ethical and who do not compromise the worker's work ethic and their superior skillset.

Finally, should none of the above work let them go for the sake of the success of your business.

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