Watching the movie “Morning Glory” gave me some tips on how to handle difficult people.
Movie Description (Copied from Yahoo Movies)
When hard-working TV producer Becky Fuller is fired from a local news program, her career begins to look as bleak as her hapless love life. Stumbling into a job at “Daybreak” (the last-place national morning news show), Becky decides to revitalize the show by bringing on legendary TV anchor Mike Pomeroy. Unfortunately, Pomeroy refuses to cover morning show staples like celebrity gossip, weather, fashion and crafts – let alone work with his new co-host, Colleen Peck, a former beauty queen and longtime morning show personality who is more than happy covering morning “news.” As Mike and Colleen clash, first behind the scenes and then on the air, Becky’s blossoming love affair with fellow producer, Adam Bennett begins to unravel – and soon Becky is struggling to save her relationship, her reputation, her job and ultimately, the show itself.
Most Project Managers can relate to the above story line. Especially, when a failing project is handed over where the team morale is down and on top of it you have to manage difficult people. So, definitely a tough situation which can put everything at stake – relationships, reputation, job and the project itself.
Tip # 1: Take calculated risks and change things
Becky, played by Rachel McAdams, takes a calculated risk by making the Weather Report more entertaining. This becomes a huge hit which in turn energizes one of the two difficult people. Now, 50% of her problem is solved because she does not need to handle one difficult team member as that team member becomes totally engaged and is willingly to do anything to help the team’s cause.
Tip # 2: Monitor things closely to see favorable trends
On the surface, everything may seem to be falling apart. The two team members clash on air instead of “bantering” pleasantly. This is definitely not planned and in every way must cause problems. But, Becky keeps an open mind and so when she pores over the reports, she sees a favorable trend whenever there is an on-air clash. So, she lets the “bantering” continue as it was helping the team’s cause.
Tip # 3: Slow down and pay attention
Becky does not slow down and pay attention. If she had then she would have known that she has influenced the remaining difficult team member with her work ethic. She would have noticed that her team member was ready to play ball and help the team’s cause. Since it is a movie there has to be some intense drama and so things get escalated. This is good for a movie but not so good for a project. Any intense drama needs to be avoided whenever possible in a project. So, what Becky did not do needs to be done here which is to slow down and to pay attention.
It is a good movie with many comic situations and Rachel McAdmas acted extremely well. The movie is under the genre “Comedy and Romance”. Relating the movie to a project may take the fun out of the movie for some people but I enjoyed it even though I was reliving some of my work experiences dealing with difficult people.