by Peter Kim
Sometimes troublemakers appear in meetings and other social events. What should a chapter officer do in this situation? It is inevitable that will confront a troublemaker on some occasion. Are you going to fight with them? After attending an educational forum at the PTK International Conference on this issue, I have some ideas to help you. What do I mean when I refer to individuals as troublemakers? An officer, who was elected but didn’t do anything during their term or a person who promised to do work but is always making excuses and being undependable are common types of trouble makers.
Most people feel uncomfortable confronting strangers and don’t know where to begin because lack of skill can make a situation worse. Therefore, a willingness to take action or start talking is the hardest part of
confronting a troublemaker. Once you
decide to take action then the following tips will help you.
First, there is a power dynamic in every social relationship. It’s hard to converse with your superior because speaking with him or her is an uncomfortable situation since he or she has more power than you. So in some instances, a superior person would be a chapter president, he/she should not confront a troublemaker in every situation. If a chapter president does that then a troublemaker will decide to flee or hide his/her true intention. Most people will show their true intention or needs while they feel equal with others like member to member but a chapter president has more authority than the general members. Therefore, neutralizing the power dynamic is the key. Make the troublemaker feel as if he/she is talking to a person who is in same level, so he/she can freely express what he/she want to say. Secondly, try to converse in a neutral place besides the chapter office or chapter meeting place because these places could make a troublemaker feel pressured. Thirdly, you (officers) have to be ready for every response from a troublemaker in the meeting. Troublemakers may attack you verbally or respond with a positive reaction. If you know how to correctly deal with the situation by saying “please stop interrupting our meeting” and using improper behaviors, he/she may respond back by an apology and then you should accept. A good tip to stop a constant troublemaker in the meeting would be controlling of the attacker and yourself so that both of you don't become angry. Anger will only make a situation worse so wait till the end of meeting and speak with troublemaker individually. All you need is one minute to say how their behavior is affecting you and others (members in the meeting place), because most troublemakers think their behaviors don’t affect others.