As Henry Ford (pictured) said: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” © Ford Motor Company
As Henry Ford (pictured) said: “If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself.” © Ford Motor Company

How can I deal with difficult stakeholders?

posted by Andrew Swift
28 January 2016

Having the skills and core competencies in procurement or supply chain is all well and good, but unless you can tackle this key question your career is unlikely to take off. Andrew Swift offers some advice.

Often people think they need to tough it out and stay strong. But what if what really works is to understand the other person’s world and work together?

This is one of those questions that you can guarantee will come up in a job interview – with good reason. How you handle difficult stakeholders can be an excellent indicator to a prospective employer that you are a good candidate for the job, or to your current employer that you are promotion material. Having the skills and core competencies in procurement or supply chain is all well and good, but unless you can tackle this key question your career is unlikely to take off. The higher up you go in an organisation the more challenging the stakeholders you deal with are likely to become; and the greater the potential conflict you will be required to deal with. For your employer there is nothing worse than putting someone in a more responsible position only to find they are unable to deal with the new challenges they encounter at this level. What often happens is that people overcompensate for their own inadequacies: they may strut around with their chest puffed out, or get angry and fall out with everyone; often they trip up on the points of their arguments, because they’re unable to handle the new situation they find themselves in.

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