One of the joys of career life is coming in contact with wonderful, competent, and caring people. In the logistics/supply chain there are plenty of those types. There also thieves, scumbags, and people who have a disagreeable personalities. Some times you are stuck in the middle with them because of contractual obligations or legacy holdovers. In this essay will call these unpleasant people the difficult inclined (DI). In time they will go away, but you have a job to do and you are sometimes stuck with working with them.
Do not look to the US present political climate in how to deal with these people. In political climate, there is social media bashing, belittling, and humiliating going on at record levels. If you do those things in your work life you will come in at the short end of the stick and make a bad situation much worst. Instead use preparation, metrics to verify performance, patience and yes humility.
When you are dealing with a responsible person, one sentence might lead the other person to not only do what is required but all the necessary work around it. That will not happen with the DI. They will do as little as possible and only what you directly and clearly ask. To get the necessary work done requires more detailed preparation, more detailed planning and clear scope of procedures must be prepared.
Ron Reagan’s administration was famous for its “trust but verify” motto. In the DI case there probably isn’t trust, which why metrics need to be developed to tell if the job details have been completed. Know that the DI probably will try to subvert the metric. Some data verification will be necessary.
Deep down, the DI loves when they sense you are perturbed about them because its own way gives them power over you. So a certain amount of patience is needed plus most importantly, the ability not to lose emotional control of the situation.
You can bet that the DI will love to take advantage of smugness, arrogance, and superior you feel towards them. These emotions can blind one to the facts of the situation and the DI knows it. So keep interactions professional and have humility. Broadcasting that you are much better than the DI, will ultimately be used in a harmful way. Humility should not be confused with fear, Pollyanna states of mind, or subservience to the DI. It is rather an understanding and respect of the situation. It is focus of the job that needs to be done rather than on the DI.