As mediators, we often meet these so-called “crazy ones.” They are involved in litigation. They start businesses. They take risks. They see things differently. Others may be frustrated with them, but experienced mediators can utilize their (seemingly rebellious) energy, their differentness, to help solve the conflict. They can make life interesting and enriching. They often find themselves in conflict because they are not fond of rules. Or, they view rules differently. They may think about things on a vastly different level. Perhaps they are detail-oriented, even obsessive. Rushing them is a mistake. Perhaps they are big picture oriented. Getting them to sit still while the other side processes can be crucial. Often it is not what we say to such people, it is how we say it and when we say it. Often both sides see the other as outrageous. Our charge is to help both sides see the other’s perspective and find solutions – without labeling either side “crazy.”
This is a sneak preview of my presentation in Reno, Nevada on October 19, 2011 — “My Neighbor is a Sociopath: Working with Difficult Personalities,” for the Northern Nevada Chapter, Community Association Institute. See, CAI Nevada.