Oppositional Defiance

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Identification

This condition is often seen in children. If at least four out of the eight traits listed below are in evidence, an individual may have this disorder. You must observe if the individual:
  1. Is prone to losing their temper
  2. Often argues (more than would be expected from a negotiator)
  3. Actively defies or refuses to comply with requests or rules
  4. Is deliberately annoying
  5. Blames others for their mistakes or misbehavior
  6. Is touchy or easily annoyed by others
  7. Is angry and resentful
  8. Is spiteful or vindictive

Example

Adults manifest this disorder in various ways, but looking out for signs of multiple traits listed above is a good reference point. Consider a negotiator who shuts down any attempt to reasonably give-and-take, blames you for not making the offer they want to hear, and won’t stop clicking their pen (and looks smug when asked to stop – while not stopping).

Solution

Good negotiators are good listeners and good communicators. Expose illogic in this behavior: “Why do you say up when I say down? It seems you really don’t want to reach an accord.” Or consider saying, “I would like to hear your real objections.” Getting a third party in the room often mitigates this difficulty, as offenders often take liberties one-on-one which they would not with a third party present. If your opponent is persistent, walk out. The walk out may be effective as the goal for some is simply attention, regardless if it is positive or negative. Threaten to remove the attention, and they may err on the side of proper behavior.

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