Eric Williamson

Eric Williamson is a professional development consultant, business author, and keynote speaker with two decades of professional development experience, speaking, and most importantly, real-life, hands-on in-the-trenches business experience in both the private and public sectors.

Eric Williamson appreciates and shares with listeners that no matter how talented, gifted or experienced, and no matter what role we serve or title we carry, our level of success is not measured based on the work we produce. It is measured based on the relationships we build. To that end, he works with organizations to build successful leaders by building stronger customer and workplace relationships.

He is often referred to as the “Connector” for his ability to make his message resonate with groups, or as “the Changemaker” for his ability to inspire change and improve morale. Organizations such as The University of Maryland School of Nursing, Connecticut College, and the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) are among those who have partnered with Eric.

Eric received national attention in NBC, ABC, FOX, and CBS News for his expertise in leadership development. He was featured in Training Industry, the most trusted source of information on the business of learning, for his insight in helping business leaders leverage EQ by employing a three-step process that has helped improve human interaction, workplace relationships, employee engagement, and customer satisfaction.

Eric is the author of the book “How to Work with Jerks: Getting Stuff Done with People You Can’t Stand.”

Website: https://tailoredtrainingsolutions.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TailoredTrainingSolutions/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TTS_Williamson

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Eric Williamson Shares His Underdog Story on How He Went From Expert Jerk To Jerk Expert

Pamela Bardhi
Hello, everyone, and welcome to another episode of the underdog. Today I have an awesome guest here with me, Eric, how are you doing?

Eric Williamson
Hey, how are you doing? Thanks for having me on the show, Pamela.

Pamela Bardhi
Oh, it’s my absolute pleasure. today. I’m so psyched to be chatting with you and about your story and what you’re up to and all this amazing stuff. You’ve got a pretty awesome book, how to work with jerks. And I know it’s been a long journey since you pretty much wrote it. And the journey that got you there. So what moved you on your path to that book, because we’ll sort of talk today a little bit about where you’re at where you’ve been, and sort of where you’re going. So, however, you want to let us know. I’m down.

Eric Williamson
Thanks. I appreciate it. Thanks for having me on the show. Pam. Well, this is great. It’s such an honor to be with you. I’ll just be real. I mean, people referred me to an ‘expert jerk’ turned ‘jerk expert’, and so I think people that have worked with me have called me that. And the reason why is because I wasn’t always a jerk, right, growing up. You know, I grew up in New Haven, Connecticut two amazing parents, and they helped cultivate me, and they taught me to be disciplined and work hard and get good grades. And that will lead you to the promised land what you really want, you know what I mean? Like my parents, they worked full time. That’s how I learned, right? So I took studying and getting good grades very seriously.

So, in middle school, high school, college, I was all about getting good grades. And that’s what I did. So I had this mindset that getting good grades was gonna translate into success. And for the most part, for middle school, high school, and college I did. I made the Dean’s list, I was part of all these clubs, I did all these kinds of things, right. Then it wasn’t until I graduated, where the bottom fell out. It was just, I got my very first job.

When I got my very first job, I was assigned as a mentor. And she was designed to help me get acclimated to the job. So I didn’t say it that way. I saw that she was trying to tell me how to do my job. You know, she would say things like, Eric, no, don’t do it this way. Do it that way, right? No, no, that’s not how you get the results you need. You need to do it this way. And so I would say things like, what do you think you want to talk to me like this? Like, don’t you know, I graduated with honors, right from college. I’m very capable of doing this job.

Pamela Bardhi
Right.

Eric Williamson
Once I was pretty frank with her pretty blunt with her, you know, she did what any other person would have done. It’s not working with me. It’s all right. You figure it out on your own. And she and all my other co-workers, at that time, did the same thing. They just isolated me. They just left me alone, they set off you know, this guy, he’s knowing all, he’s a new young kid thinks he knows what he’s doing.

And so, it wasn’t until like this one morning, and it had to be a cold winter morning, my boss, he summoned me to his office. And so he was saying, look, we hired you out of school, we thought you were gonna be a right fit for this job. But, I’ve seen the work at your desk, and it’s like, almost as tall as you are, like, what are you doing, you’re not getting any work done. Right. So he was like, the morale in the office, you know, has a pretty much-gone downside since you provide, I’m thinking like, well, isn’t me, like, what did I do? You know, he was pretty upfront with me.

Matter of fact, he said, I’m sorry, if you can’t turn things around soon, I’m gonna have to let you go. And that was like the first time my very first job, having that kind of conversation with my boss telling me that I was about to get fired. I knew I had to make some changes, but I didn’t know what to do. So, like when I was about to leave, right, I soak for a while. I’m thinking that he’s gonna say it’s okay. Don’t worry about I’m just kidding. He said, But wait a second. Why don’t you take a course to learn a little bit more about emotional intelligence?

I was like, Alright, so you threatened by firing me for my job. You’re threatening me on my job. And now you’re trying to tell me that my emotions are dumb. What are you talking about? Like what like, I don’t understand. So, let’s be real here. He didn’t encourage me to take this course he voluntold me. It was a direct order. I took this course. And basically, it was like an introduction to emotional intelligence for you or anyone else listening. If you’re unfamiliar with it, basically, it’s the ability to really understand what drives you and what your emotions are, and how to keep them in check.

And I remember sitting in my old white Pontiac Grand dam one day after I took that course, and I was looking at myself in the rearview mirror, and I was like, holy cow, I had been a jerk. That’s how I’ve been acting. I realized my behavior in the workplace. And I realized how I treated my mentor, my co-workers, just anyone who was at work, I was just short, I was abrasive. I was defensive.

So that was the first time where I realized what the concept of jerk started kind of resonating, you know, they were like, there were whispers of that, you know, going on the back of my mind. But it wasn’t until I worked with a jerk, a real jerk, or been on the other end of the spectrum, where that really motivated me to put this book together. And Pam, I just quickly just share with you the story, about this jerk and why, you know, I think you would probably agree that, yes, someone’s got to do something about it.

Pamela Bardhi
Yeah.

Eric Williamson
Several years after my situation of being a jerk. I had this other boss like maybe four or five years after the situation. I was new to the job. And my boss at the time, she was really proud of her position, she would always name drop, but she would say, as my as your director, I’m telling you to do this as your boss, I want you to do it this way. And I was new to the job. My director was telling me to put this report together for some executives coming into town. She’s looking over me. She’s like, telling me what information to put in what information to take out and I’m like, Alright, do you want to do this? You know, I didn’t say that. But that’s what I was thinking and I wouldn’t dare say that to her.

So, I came across some information I knew my executives wanted. I knew they just put a memo out the other week and they were like, well, look, we want to know this information. We want to know what about we want an analysis of this. So I started putting in this information and just took the initiative to start doing it. She looked down to the what are you doing? I was like, well, I’m putting this information in and she goes, No, no, don’t do that. Right. I don’t want that information. In the report I said, well, you know and I think we should put it in, the executive wanted it right. She tapped me on my shoulder then she said, look up at me, and I’m looking up, she goes, You work for me. And as your director, I’m telling you to leave it out.

And so, I was just trying to be a good worker, Pam. That’s it, you know, so I followed orders, I left it out. Then lo and behold, these executives, they came in into visit for their quarterly visit. She and those three directors, three executives were in the executive office and they were going through the report, and I’m not busy at my desk, minding my own business, alright. And I get a call and it’s my director on the phone and she’s like, Eric, I’d like you to come into this executive conference suite, you know, we want to talk about this report.

So maybe they’re pretty happy about what I put together. You know, at the wall, I work that was my best work under pressure with my boss breathing down my neck. I walked in there didn’t even barely step a foot in there and I just kind of like opening the door. I was about to go in there. And she goes, Eric, our executive wondering where this specific information is, in this report. It’s not in there, I want you to go back to your desk and put that information in and don’t come back until it’s done. Are we clear?

Pamela Bardhi
Oh, my God.

Eric Williamson
Just like your mouth just dropped that my jaw dropped just like that. I mean, I stood there frozen. Like, are you serious? I had no idea what to say, I froze and I had all these feelings in my mind. Like, you know, how dare she betray me? Embarrass me? How dare she tell me under the bus like this. I just had all these emotions and I don’t know, I just froze. And at that moment, I said, I can’t be in this work environment anymore. So I faced two options and I was like, either gonna quit, or I was gonna get fired because I wasn’t gonna work for someone like that.

And I realized that no matter how smart and talented anyone can be if you work in that kind of environment. I mean, how successful are you really going to be? And that, right, there really was the driving factor with inspiring me to write the book. I mean, besides my wife, who kept telling me, you know, you need to talk about this, you need to talk about this and I was like, You know what, I should, but that was just my story. But I started talking to all types of people, coworkers, and colleagues, and people in coffee shops, you know, and they were telling me all their stories dealing with people.

So I took all that information and it just really inspired me to put down, put a guide for people who have been in positions just like me, or other people that you know, just have difficult to get along with people that you just can’t stand, people with a different personality. So that’s really what inspired me to do it.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. Well, not the situation, but the fact that I’m just like, what? You said quite a few things that were really interesting to me, it’s like because I was the same way. And middle school, high school, and college, right? Where you get good grades, right? Like you’re taught the system like, Oh, just be great at this, and then it translates into success, which is so not the case. There’s so much out there that defines success than anything else, like grades are nothing, pretty much out in the real world, workforce now, nothing. What matters now is like, how effectively can you communicate? emotional intelligence ties into that direction, all of this is so intercorrelated to success.

The most successful leaders in the world are the most successful communicators. So, it’s like you can sit there and have the best grades on the entire planet, if you don’t know how to communicate or be a team player, you’re dead in the workforce, especially now, when we’re on a global platform. And so I find that so interesting that you had mentioned that because it blows my mind. We live in the number one country in the world, right? How do you not teach emotional intelligence? Why, because it’s like if you’re not, I mean, this is what I think it is. It’s like, I think the real pandemic here is like the lack of emotional intelligence that’s taught in our school systems, to be completely honest. When you’re not aware that you’re reacting, right.

So like, throughout your journey, you were talking about how you were abrasive and you were like, all of these things, you were a jerk, right? Because you were taught to never really be aware of your emotions and when you become aware of them, then you can control how you react to them, through the process and, you know, training and all that stuff. But it’s like, it just blows my mind, because that’s what happens in our society these days, too. And it’s just an observation that I’m making. It’s just like, it’s unbelievable, because you look at suicide and depression rates in this country, and how many people aren’t really aware of their emotions, and they are out there just reacting to life and reacting to life, and they’re getting the same result.

And that’s what causes unhappiness. But when you’re emotionally intelligent, you train yourself. You know, like, there are so many more options. So I just find it fascinating that you said that, and I’m so glad that you became aware of it because it turned everything around for you. You know, that’s so cool.

Eric Williamson
Yeah, thank you. And if I could just add one more thing, like things really came full circle, once I had my two kids, like my daughter, she’s four and she’s learning to express herself. And you know, when she’s upset, and in learning how to explain what makes her upset and being able to say those things. Sometimes when I’m like talking to her, and she’s expressing herself, I’m like, What happened? Like, what happened to me, like, I know, I probably learned that same stuff when I was like her age.

Then when you’re in the workplace, it’s like, I don’t know, like maybe you just too focus on getting a good grade, and lose sight of being aware of your emotions, and how to express yourself and how to manage those things. You know, it was just a humble start to the real world for me. It really was the best way that I’ve heard it, you know, you really crystallize it when you’re in school, you know, grades, all those things don’t matter. I mean, if I pulled out my report card from high school, or college, or anything like that. That stuff doesn’t apply today, if I’m talking to the people that I like to help, you know, work with jerks, say, hey, look, you know, I got an A in biology.

You know, this is what really sets me apart. Like, that’s not relevant, you know? And so, how, why emotional intelligence isn’t taught earlier. That’s one of the things that really drive me to help do. And that’s what I’m doing right now. I’ve actually taken a pivot in my career, from working with corporations and C-Suite executives to focusing on higher education, because they need those kinds of social skills, interpersonal skills, that emotional intelligence, because they need to know the things that I didn’t know, growing up in school.

It’s not always about the grades, it’s how you can communicate. It’s how you can bounce back from rejection and build resilience. You know, that’s kind of a lot of the things, that’s kind of driven me to make that pivot to work with higher ed to help them you know, and keep them from doing that, making those mistakes that I did, it helped to prepare them for the real world.

Pamela Bardhi
Right. Absolutely. Yeah. Emotional intelligence is important. Oh my god, it’s so critical and skillsets to succeed. A truly, I mean, cuz you gotta force it full circle when you work for your boss.

Eric Williamson
Yeah.

Pamela Bardhi
Putting down your neck, and then the audacity to tell you why do you leave that out? That’s like a narcissist is like a nutshell.

Eric Williamson
Yeah,

Pamela Bardhi
Because those narcissists are the ones that cannot accept mistakes. Mm-hmm. So it’s like she’s just projecting that to you. So, I find it so interesting that you experience sort of both ends of it. You were aware that you were one and then it sort of came full circle. That’s so interesting, and I know I mean, I can tell you I have so many friends and colleagues and family who connect and tell me all the time, like, I can’t stand my boss, or like.

And so like recently, I think it was last week, actually, I had a family member reach out and I was like, You know what, I have a friend who has a book, and it’s called “How to work with jerks.” And regard to your profile as well. But I need to follow up with you but in all seriousness, if you’re brand new, right, you’re just coming up college and like, this is all new stuff.

Eric Williamson
Right?

Pamela Bardhi
Like you have so… like, that’s another thing. There are so many group dynamics. And like so many different patterns of communication throughout organizations, and like, it’s so critical to the organization success. Because if it’s if the employees are not feeling empowered, then how on earth is the organization going to do well, so it all like, comes like a domino effect. So I think what you’re preaching is 1,000%, like what needs to happen.

Eric Williamson
Thank you. Yeah.

Pamela Bardhi
Now, I gotta ask you now that you kind of went on that path. What did you want to be when you grew up? For me, I wanted to be a singer clearly did not happen. It didn’t. But she really shouldn’t. But it was funny, because in my career, like, I went to college, and I had the same exact persona as you, I was gonna graduate, I was gonna have a full-time job when I graduated. And then you start a business down the line, like that was my plan. And then everything went to help my junior year because of internships that I did. So I’m interested to hear sort of like, what was your plan, sort of prior to, like, graduating college? Like, what was your dream of what you were going to become?

Eric Williamson
Yeah, so since I was a boy since I was, I don’t know, like seven or eight years old. I always wanted to be a lawyer. Always wanted to and I think I was just always, like, captivated by, that lawyer shows when they’re in suspense and they find the person who’s guilty or something at the very end, and everyone just turns around, and like, the lawyer just saves a day, and they’re just working their magic in the courtroom. And for some reason, I was like, that’s gotta be me. That’s me. And my whole life, right? Thought my whole life growing up, that was what I was gonna do.

Like, when I was, every time, you know, I got a good grade on in high school, I was like, yep, that’s one step closer to get into that school. So that way I can get into grad school, get the law school, you know, everything was just centered around that. And then when I got to college, I mean, that was still part of the plan. But that passion is hindsight, by the way, hindsight, that passion just really wasn’t there. And I had other ideas, you know, I thought about just my own other things. I was busy partying, I was a social butterfly and then, I was like, you know, wouldn’t it be great to just party all day and just have enough money to just do it, whatever you want to do? You know, now’s like, that’s what I need to do.

I need to work on something where I can get a quick buck and not have to work that much, and still be able to do all the things that I really want to do. And I was like, You know what, maybe law school is a thing. So let me try it and so let me tell you something. So I took the L-SATs. I was beyond mediocre and I don’t even know what my score was. But I took it a couple of times. And it was awful.  It’s okay, I got this and I got this warm smile got this killer smile. Law School, though. They’ll know what’s up, right? They will look at me. They’ll compare it with my grades. All that’ll work out, I applied to 19 schools and got rejected by all of them.

Pamela Bardhi
No way.

Eric Williamson
All of them rejected me. Every single last one of them rejected me. It was the hardest thing that I had to come to terms with. I mean, to me, it was just like, imagine for 15 plus years, you’re supposed to go one route. Right? And then, it’s time to, now you’ve got this one more step to do it. It just crumbles right before you and you know what all I had was myself to blame. That’s it I mean, as I said, I told you hindsight was 2020. Looking back at it, I knew that’s not what I wanted and I just thought it was, I had my practical standpoint that it was just part of the plan. And because of that, I took it for granted.

I did not put in the effort to study as well as I should have. I definitely didn’t do that and I didn’t invest in it. And I got what I deserved. I’m honestly you know, this is me really coming to terms with it. It took me some time to do that. And coming to terms with it, I’m telling you is that I got what I deserved and I didn’t put in the effort for it. But the realization that harsh reality made me have to make You think, what the hell am I gonna do now? What am I gonna do now? My plans are shut, right? I’m not gonna get in the last quarter bill says twice, bombed, got rejected by 19 schools, so where’s my life that will lead me? I don’t have any money.

So I really had to dig deep and figure out, what it is that I really liked. And part of it I talked about at the beginning, where I took those other failures where I almost got fired from my job and how I worked with a jerk those things kind of all, just, they were all in the back of my mind, they were all pieces of a puzzle. And I was like, even thinking about going to law school about how I loved how the lawyer was just talking to people and changing everyone’s point of view and, and winning the case. You know, all those things kind of led me down a path at its essence to help people. But it wasn’t law school, though. It definitely wasn’t law school.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s so interesting that you pivoted that way. So how long ago was that, that you had tried for law school?

Eric Williamson
This was after I graduated from college, I got that first job that I talked about, well, almost got fired. And then that was me taking out my planner, what I was gonna take a year off from going to school, I was going to work at that job for a year. And then, I was going to put in for law school during that time, you know, after that year, and then that’s what I was going to do. So this was over 20 years ago, this was a long time ago. So in my early 20s, I faced that pivotal point where it’s like, “who are you gonna be?” What are you supposed to be?

Whatever I’m supposed to be is definitely got to be what I want to be and at that moment, it was what I was supposed to be, wasn’t what I wanted to be at all. You know, it wasn’t a lawyer. But the painstaking thing was that I knew I was gonna disappoint my parents, because they saw me being a lawyer and once I told them the results it took me some time, but it was just like, I don’t want to disappoint my parents. They really saw me as that kind of person, you know and it’s funny when you grow up, the pressure just magnified more, because now you have to really figure out what you want to do. And once I went that route, and I hit that wall like I really had to think. It took me some time, it really did.

Pamela Bardhi
That happens a lot to a lot of people when they graduate college.  I was explaining for me and I had an internship. I thought I was going to work at this place when I graduate. And this was my junior year, spring semester of junior year, I walked into my supervisor’s office, right? And she goes, Pam, here’s your grade. She likes slips of paper. Here’s your grade for the semester. it’s like when you do a spring semester for college. If you’ve been there every day, and you’ve done the work, like you automatically expect an A-like, what kind of goal is that? Like, right? she slips me She’s like, Oh, it’s a b minus.

I was like, What? And she was like, You were just too ambitious, you know, you’d finish things and then you’d come up and ask for more stuff. I was like, wow. Like, I’m literally reading her and I’m like, she’s like, open conferences that you weren’t supposed to and I was like, nobody was participating. So like, I can’t just be in a room with a thought. And just not say anything, I can’t do that and I can’t sit still, you know, like, right?

Eric Williamson
Right? Right.

Pamela Bardhi
She’s like, didn’t care and I was just like, I walked out of that office. And for like, four minutes, I had this feeling of rejection, like, my whole life went sideways and then I was like, I’m gonna serve myself well like having my own businesses. Called up, my parents. Walked up. I was like, you know, mom, dad, just letting you know. Right now I’m not working for anybody. When I graduate next year and go to work for myself, I have no idea what type of business I’m starting. Nor do I care. I just know, I’m starting one. That’s letting you know, okay. But my mom said, what? Much like your parents, my parents were entrepreneurs. So like, they had their own businesses and everything.

And they’re like, Pam, you can’t do that, you know, we don’t want you to struggle the way we have like, working all these hours. Like, we don’t want that for you. We want you to be secure and have a paycheck. I was like, I don’t care, I was like these cubicles or prison. I’m tied to supervisors. You know, so it’s interesting, like how the rejection can like motivate you or redirect you. So I’m interested to know, like for you, what sort of helped you pass that because it seemed like a lifelong goal for you so like, how are you able to sort of move past that kind of pivot?

Eric Williamson
So after I got rejected for those 19 schools, I stayed at the same job and I had to reset, I had to figure out what it is that I wanted to do. And I saw my parents work, and they worked for, I don’t know, 30-40 plus years. And I was like, after all these experiences that I had in my, teens and 20s, I was like, “No, no, that can’t be me.” If it’s not gonna be law school, it’s gotta be something else. It’s got to be something else. So, I started, once I had these experiences, right, working with a jerk, and hearing other people hear their experiences. I said, what if I was able to help people who were just like me? Maybe that’s a way of giving back to other people.

Because I’ve seen how frustrated people are. I’ve known people who score like a perfect on the rest and they can’t even keep a job for like, a year. I know, people who work their butts off to get like their PMP or any special certifications. Nearly quitting a job because they can’t stand the people that they work with, or they work for. And I said, you know, how much of a cost is that to the organization and to the person. And so I’ve seen some of the numbers, and I looked at, like, engagement and stuff like that the level of engagement. I mean, it costs corporations over, half a trillion dollars in productivity, because people are disengaged, they don’t want to work for somebody, and they don’t have an outlet. So they just sit there and do the bare minimum, right?

Pamela Bardhi
Say that, again, half a trillion.

Eric Williamson
A trillion dollars. Don’t take my word for it. That’s according to like a Gallup poll that I’m that I’ve researched not too long ago, almost half a trillion dollars. But you know, what’s even worse than that, though, I mean, it’s the people. It’s actually the people, not the organizations to me. It’s the people that set out to do something good or to do something worth a damn, and they just end up going someplace else, because they can’t take those situations. So I said, you know, what, what if I can help people.

There’s a fine line between if someone’s acting like a real jerk, if they’re a narcissist, if they’re doing something completely flagrant, and that worked by me isn’t for you, then you shouldn’t work there. But what are you going to do to that state? What is that same person going to do? If they can’t find that other job? Right, that other than plan B. So I said, well, let me create a roadmap to help people manage the situation that they’re in. And either one or two things are gonna happen. Either they’re going to be able to manage it so well, that they’re going to be able to say, you know what, I can deal with this.

And I can move on and I can work with this situation, because it’s not gonna be too much longer, or, what they’ll do is, they may use that same skill set, and do something completely different. Because let’s be real, just because you leave one job, because someone’s acting like a jerk, doesn’t mean that the next place isn’t gonna have the same jerk. Or you could run into some another situation, what are you gonna do, then? You can’t just keep running and you can’t just keep leaving places, you have to learn how to manage the situation. So I said, You know what, once I thought about that.

I said you know what, this is what I want to do. I want to help people work with jerks. This is what, I think it’s so undervalued. You hear all this stuff like conflict management, training, and how to get along with people. And it’s like, it’s that’s not what people think and that’s not what people are saying. It’s like, how can I get along with this? You know what? Yeah, right. And for the underdog show, let’s call them jerks, right? Let’s call these people jerks. So I just think it’s a lifeline to so many people or needs, especially right now.

Pamela Bardhi
Seriously. So, on that note, like, what would be your number one tip because I know for sure, right now, because of COVID and the job scarcity situation, layoffs are happening, this is becoming more and more prominent because they don’t have that plan B.

Eric Williamson
Right.

His Best Piece of Advice as A Jerk Expert

Pamela Bardhi
You know, I mean, they have to stick to that situation until things get better. So it’s like, what would be your best advice to like, work with a jerk who’s like stuck right now? You know.

Eric Williamson
There are so many different things that people recommend, you know, and I like to just keep it simple. I really do. Right. At the end of the day, I say, look, you do three things. If there’s anything that you can do, do these three things. The first thing is, if you’re in conflict with someone or you’re dealing with someone who has a difficult personality, or narcissists, a micromanager, whether you’re late to get into work, because you’re stuck in traffic, or you’ve got too many meetings, you really feel stressed out and you have to do something, you have to respond or react to somebody. And in that situation, I just recommend doing three things.

The first thing is to assess. Assess your situation, right. What are you feeling at this moment? So I may say, you know what I’m feeling stressed that you know what’s out right now, because this person keeps, asking me about what’s going on with a certain project, right, and I don’t have an answer right now. That’s stressing me out. And why is it stressing me out? Well, because I’m hammering my keys down. My mouth is dry, and I get nervous.

So what I’m about to say is something I’m gonna regret. I start stuttering and my mouth is dry. That’s an indication that ‘yeah, I’ve reached that level.’ Once you assess that situation, and then you analyze it, so what’s making you feel this way? Well, my, my freakin boss here, he’s asked me about the situation, right? That’s why I’m stressed. And I’ve associated, what I’m feeling with why I’m feeling that way. And the situation with what my body’s responding. So once I’m able to associate those two things, then I recommend that person do the third thing. Now that you understand, what’s going on, and why you’re feeling that way, then you can sit over there and respond most appropriately to keep you from making a knee-jerk reaction.

Instead of being short to someone in the response, you know, like, Hey, what’s going on along with those TPS reports? I don’t know if you ever saw the movie office space. You know, when someone says, oh, what’s going on with TPS report? Instead of someone asking you about that for the millionth time? Instead of responding short or bracing to the person or Hey, will you back off? Why don’t you just say, you know what, I’ll get back to you, or thanks for asking about it? Why don’t we set some time aside, it buys you some time. And it keeps you from making that knee-jerk reaction, because one of the biggest things I’ve regretted right is either at the end of the day or that weekend, telling somebody was really on my mind acting, taking some kind of knee jerk response.

And then I got a stew the whole weekend, or the whole day thinking about how I responded to that person, what this person may think of me and how it’s gonna affect our relationship moving forward. It’s just not worth it. So it’s like, take those three steps. And then it gets you one step closer to managing that relationship. Because to me, at the end of the day, it’s about managing relationships. It’s not just acting fake or anything like that, It’s doing what’s best to preserve the relationship.

So that way you can get exactly what you need out of that situation. And if it’s not worth fighting in the best of the hill weren’t battling on, that is not worth the response that you’re going to share. You know that impulsive response. So just take a three-step process, assess the situation, analyze the situation, and then act, those three things. That’s what I recommend.

Pamela Bardhi
Right? It’s not worth expelling your energy over somebody who is set in their ways, that’s what they need to do. And the thing that I found of like working with interesting people, or like anyone you come across in business, like you just show them, love, right? Like, if you’re really kind to them, why would they bother you? And when I see somebody who’s being a pain in the butt, I kind of stroke their ego a little bit.

Eric Williamson
Yeah.

Pamela Bardhi
Wow, I really like your outfit. That’s really nice. Like, Hey, would you mind helping me with this? You’re like, yeah, you know? Then people know how to do that. Like, you got to be kind, you know, you just never know. Because at the end of the day, right, you don’t know what that jerk is going through at home, or what this or that. And it’s like when you can understand that, like, maybe it’s not you maybe you’re the one who’s being projectile vomited on because of insecurities, right? That’s what it is, at the end of the day, you know what I mean? And it’s like if you can do that, like, you’ll be able to manage anybody out there.

Eric Williamson
You are so right. And I tell people time and time again, that they’re like, well, how can I get this person to stop being a jerk, right? How can I get this person to stop acting this way to me? Well, that’s where we hit that wall. Because we always think that we can control somebody else. Somebody else’s response, you can’t do that. The only thing that you really can control is how you respond and you can control your own behavior. And if you do that, and practice that self-care, then you’re going to be more focused, less stressed and you know that person you just disarmed that jerk, you’ve just, like you said, kill them with kindness. You just disarmed them. That’s what I recommend and you said it greatly.

Pamela Bardhi
Thank you. It looks like we might have to have some keynotes together. Hey, Eric. That’s amazing. And I love that you’ve helped people through this journey, but it blows my mind on the productivity that you were saying, for companies and all that. I mean, it’s just the world in general, like, I mean, if people learn what you’re preaching that the world would be a better place. Because it just starts with one act of kindness.That kind of just keeps going. So what’s next for you? Like, what’s on the horizon? You know, I know COVID has been a little bit interesting. And you do keynotes and lots of awesome things and in-person workshops and things like that. So what’s, what’s sort of coming up next?

Eric Williamson
Yeah, that’s a great question. So the all of COVID like everyone, we’ve all adapted and pivoted. I know people getting tired of the word pivot. But a lot of my workshops, my programs have been converted to virtual. I’m actually doing a couple of things though. In the pipeline. I’m working on my second book, which is right now, I’m still playing around with the title but it’s gonna be something to the effect of how to create a jerk-free environment. And that’s gonna that’s tailored towards organizational culture and how to really build from the bottom up.

And that’s why I’ve invested heavily in working with Higher Ed. Because I think once they go into the workplace if you can have strong emotionally intelligent workers that help create that jerk-free environment because then they can work, they will demonstrate that they can work with any kind of a jerk, any kind of leader who’s acting however it is that they want to act. Once you do that, now they’ve got another skill set that makes them more marketable. So that’s part of it, I want to do that second book, I’m working on the manuscript now. The other thing I’m working on is coming up with an online course, to help not just higher ed, but other folks who are in a war in the workplace, develop their social skills.

Because let’s face it, we can see each other through this zoom call and everything, but a lot of us, you know, we just do it by talking on the phone. And we’ve been social distancing, right. So, those social skills are gonna need to get brushed upon, people are gonna need to know how to say, Hi, my name is Eric, how are you? We’re gonna need to re-familiarise ourselves with that.

Pamela Bardhi
So that people can actually come and give you a hug. And they’re not like, yeah, cuz I forget about COVID sometimes, and I like to go to somebody like to hug them. And they’re just like, quiet. When you see somebody sneeze in public, and it just, clears. So it’s so funny. That’s actually a great thing that you’re like, alright, so we’re back to humanity. Now you’re like returning into cave people? Like, let’s get back to business.

Eric Williamson
Right. I think people are gonna need to know that. And, you know, I’m gonna continue to work in Higher Ed. Those are just a few things that I’m working on, online courses, my next book, I continue to just spread the message about how to work with jerks. Because I just think it’s something that even before COVID, even before the social unrest, all the things that we’ve been experiencing, on this year, it’s been one crazy year, but people have had issues interacting with people well before this. So I think just people need to continue to have those tools. And I want to make it readily available for people who need it the most. So I’m just, really trying to expand and do that.

Pamela Bardhi
That’s amazing. Now, I’m going to ask you, one of the most important questions is, what would your older self tell your younger self?

Eric Williamson
That’s such a great question. I think my older self would tell my younger self that doesn’t take himself too seriously. Life has many different ways to go, you’ve had your own journey. It wasn’t a straight line, I thought I had a straight line, and I invested so much in it. And I think if I didn’t take myself too seriously, back then, I think I probably would have been like an entrepreneur at an earlier age. I probably would have looked at college, that whole lot differently. Because to me, it’s like entrepreneurship, I found that out at a later age in life.

And I think that’s such a great thing that you may just all types of entrepreneurs, something I want my kids to learn how to do at an early age. It’s so key. And I think that if you don’t take yourself seriously, that too seriously, you’ll be able to be aware of all the opportunities that life can present.

Pamela Bardhi
Amen to that. My last question for you, which is, what is your number one piece of advice, something that, motivates you. Could be anything in your life that you kind of life by that you would advise to sort of anyone?

Eric Williamson
Yeah. Okay. All right. So I would say this, it doesn’t matter how smart or talented or gifted you are, or your experience, or the role that you have. I think that success in the workplace or success, in general, is about building relationships. So the more effort that you work on building relationships with anyone, whether it’s a family member, whether it’s a colleague, whether it’s your neighbor doesn’t matter, I think the better off we will all be if you’re able to manage relationships.

Not to say that you have to play nice in the sandbox with people, or just huddled around and everyone’s smiling. But if you’re able to manage relationships and build those relationships, I think you’re going to get more out of life than just treating the person for who you think that they are. So I think it’s all about managing relationships and just making effort or just managing relationships and getting to know that person so that way you know a little bit more about yourself and how you and who you are and what you have to bring to the world as well.

Pamela Bardhi
You’re amazing now everyone’s got to know where to find you and find your book.

Eric Williamson
Yeah, sure. So people can find me. I’m on everyone’s social media I have to do is find Eric Williamson, but my website is tailored training solutions.com. My book How to work with jerks can be found on Amazon. I also get these out do signed copies, especially for the holidays. So, people, this is a great gift for people, I’m more than willing to provide signed copies for people. And so they could just, you know, contact my go-to my website at tailored training solutions.com. They can get my contact information from there, and I’ll be able to sign in and mail it off.

Pamela Bardhi
Nice. That’s awesome. Thank you so much for sharing that I know everyone will come and check out the book and check you out and all the awesomeness that you’ve gotten. You’ve also got your show to your phone. Yeah,

Eric Williamson
Yeah, the power-up, it’s called maximize your potential. And I have a co-host. Her name is Cheryl Mays, and we started this a few months back. Matter of fact, we provide tools to help professionals and entrepreneurs power-up, especially during this time of disruption. So we have all types of people on there, from coaches for really successful entrepreneurs, all types of business leaders, anyone who’s got a different slant on what it takes to power up and maximize their potential.

Pamela Bardhi
There we go. I love it. Eric, thank you so much for being here today. You’ve dropped so many amazing pieces of advice. And I love your story and your hustle. So thank you so much for being here today. Appreciate you.

Eric Williamson
Thank you so much for having me. This is great. I love being on the underdog. It’s awesome.

Tune in to the episode to hear the rest of my incredible interview with the amazing Eric Williamson.