Dealing with Difficult Users Page 5

Deb Shinder

Demanding Demetrius

Demanding Demetrius is the user who always insists that his (or her) computer/network problems take precedence over everything else. If his sound card goes out, it must be fixed, and it must be fixed right now. Never mind that the entire accounting department is without connectivity.

Demetrius is often a middle level manager, who is impressed with his own self-importance. He is usually the excitable type, and rant and rave and threaten to "have your job" if you don't make his problem your first priority. The most important factor in dealing with Demetrius is to stay calm, and not let him provoke you. The more agitated he gets, the calmer you should become. Explain politely that you are following policy and/or instructions from upper management in prioritizing the order in which you address IT problems. Refer him to someone above him in the organization if he has a complaint. Maintain a completely professional demeanor in the face of his tantrums.

It's unlikely that Demetrius will ever reform, and even if he goes away there always seems to be another Demetrius to take his place. But you can protect yourself against his crazy-making behavior by ensuring that clearcut written policies are in place establishing your job priorities, and by not getting drawn into his maelstrom of upset. That is, don't take it personally. Deep down, Demetrius is probably really raging against his own private inner frustrations with his job and his life - things that have nothing to do with you or the computer/network. You're just the closest handy target. Wear a bullet-proof smile and attend to your business. The Demetriuses of the world deserve more pity than anger.

Aside from his poorly concealed rage, Demetrius has a lot in common with the next user type on our list,Dora Discourteous.

This article was originally published on Sep 18, 2000

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