Is there someone in your life who has a know-it-all attitude? There is no topic you can bring up that they don’t know something about it and usually talk like they are an expert on the subject.
I call this type of prickly personality The Lion because they walk around acting like they are the king of the beasts.
In the work setting these are the people who are newly hired, are undergoing training for the job, but act like they know more than the person training them.
If they are a member of your family, you try to avoid them at reunions because they will always be spouting off about what they’ve recently done or what they know.
If you are married to a lion, you might have initially been swept away by how smart they are. But now that you’ve been married to them for several years, you’ve learned that they only act like they know everything and you are tired of the act.
Another trait of the Lion is that they have a low tolerance for having their ideas challenged. They bristle and show their fangs quickly if you dismiss their ideas or if you act like you know more or offer an alternate view on a topic.
Here are my suggestions for dealing with this difficult person:
- Don’t be intimidated or let them take over. It’s easy to be buffaloed by their roar and to back down from their challenge. Unfortunately this response only perpetuates their position and attitude. Do not let them intimidate you. If you are that person’s supervisor, remember that you are in charge, not them. Do not let them take over the meeting or the conversation. This is sometimes done in an effort to be polite toward them and let them speak their mind. Unfortunately, they never get finished speaking their mind. You will have to assertively cut them off.
- Help them consider alternative views while avoiding direct challenges to their view. This is a tricky thing to try and accomplish. It can help if you start your alternative view with the phrase, “Have you ever thought about……” or “What do you think about ……” This gives the Lion a chance to make the idea theirs and feel less threatened.
- Ask for clarification. They will often speak in broad strokes. Ask them for the details in their idea. This will slow them down because they’ve only thought in sweeping terms and given no thought to details or application.
- Listen for ideas that might be helpful. It’s always possible they could have a suggestion that you haven’t considered before. So before you dismiss everything they say, take the time to listen carefully and see if you can find a small kernel that would prove helpful to you.