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Dealing with peacocks

 
#1 Dealing with peacocks
18/04/2016 14:09

Bushy Eyebrow Partner

Hi guys.

How do you deal with peacocks? You know, people who always just HAVE to be the "top dog" in any setting.

Even if you're the best person to answer a question or deal with a query, if a client asks something (whether by email or in a meeting), they're ALWAYS the first to blurt out the response. It's almost like they simply cannot bear the thought of somebody else answering instead.

Even if it's a point of detail and they're completely new to the project (with a whole team having worked on it for months beforehand), they have ALL the answers and boy will they READILY share them with the client. Even though it might completely contradict what you've been doing (or, more likely, just be slightly incomplete or not quite picking up the nuances of where you've been guiding the client).

You know that old adage about "you have 2 ears and 1 mouth"? Well these people have 0 ears and 100 mouths. They'll talk forever. The client asks what the time is? You'll still be there an hour later listening to a rambling answer. The client asks where are you with the report that will take a fortnight to write? They'll instantly blurt out "It will be done by the end of the week!" and then they'll tell them all the recommendations regardless of whether it's different to what you've spent the last 3 days writing. The client asks for an opinion on something? You might as well hire a dummy to stand there nodding and not getting a single word in while he/she rambles on until the client has to go home. Even better, if they can get meetings with the client and cut you out of the loop or have parallel conversations, that's the best!

Any advice, guys? No matter how senior, confident and extroverted one is, we all have to deal with this situation sometimes! Assume here that you're dealing with a peer or your senior, so pulling rank isn't an option. Thanks!

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#2 RE: Dealing with peacocks
18/04/2016 14:57

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#1)

Back in the day we had an expression for this which went 'kiss me first before you f**k me in public'.

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#3 RE: Dealing with peacocks
18/04/2016 15:15

Bushy Eyebrow Partner to marsday (#2)

Tell me more Mars, I've not heard this one before!

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#4 RE: Dealing with peacocks
18/04/2016 16:23

marsday to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#3)

Basically it means they ask permission before wading in your business. It's a surprisingly effective way of getting people to back off and think through what they are trying to achieve before treading on your shoes, and implies you'll pay it back.

Or put another way, you'd better have my back before you step in front of me.

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#5 RE: Dealing with peacocks
19/04/2016 12:16

hanerykroze92 to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#1)

elaborate this fact more sir... I had never heard about this work....

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#6 RE: Dealing with peacocks
12/05/2016 00:09

Civil Servitude to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#1)

The type of person I think you're describing sounds quite insecure with a need to speak and fill a void. Perhaps they need to be the smartest in the room? Am I right?

That's a tricky one if it's a peer or senior. I have no really solid answers and let me know if you ever find a fix! Sorry if any of this is egg-sucking:

Are you being genuinely compassionate about why they are the way they are? What making this person tick? Are you going out of your way to make them feel secure/appreciated? Are you taking them out to lunches etc or are you avoiding them because you don't like them? Who else deals well with this person? What's their secret? Could you take advantage of this and put them in a position where they are doing all your talking for you?

Have you pre-empted the situation and considered setting the battlefield before-hand? Facile example: working with the client to produce a document to discuss and agenda. It's very difficult to rail road a meeting already set up with a clear agenda and/or a remit to review a document. Chances are that type of person isn't going to be too interest in those types of meetings and/or will want to be deeply involved in the document ahead of the meeting. That give you the opportunity to shape their thoughts and understand their agenda.

However, you may wish to be less mature and simply give them enough rope to hang themselves with. By that I mean if you have thought leadership and they are regurgitating or pre-empting your conclusions, *subtly* feed them something that is wrong but totally plausible. Watch them take the plunge on their own to the client, letting them look the fool. When they look to you for support keep your answers brief and factual but make sure everyone knows who the real brains of the outfit is.

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#7 RE: Dealing with peacocks
29/08/2016 12:42

semon to Bushy Eyebrow Partner (#1)

Didn't use thisterm before.

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