Workplace Personalities

Can you recall the last time you had difficulty handling one of your colleagues?  Were your attempts to resolve the problem really successful?  Walking away or ignoring him/her is not really an option, as it can worsen the issue, how will you cope with it?

Whether it’s your home, a public place or your office, you will always have to handle people with negative attitude, people who oppose your ideas or people who simply do not like you thus turning a perfectly good day into the worst day.  Yes, these situations are inescapable, and handling such personalities is not an easy task, if it was easy, you would not have spent your time for reading this article.

As a Human Resources professional, I have worked closely with more than 200 best and worst employees.  I had the feelings like, why are these people being so hard to handle?  These guys are so irresponsible!  It is my bad luck to work with them or I don’t ever wish to work with these guys again, Ugh...  I am pretty sure that you also have these things in your mind now.  But after a while, I realised that these types of people are everywhere and you can never walk away from them.  I feel that it is important to learn about the types of personalities before discussing how to handle them. 

4 Types of Workplace Personalities

#1: The Considerate

They are usually optimistic, agreeable and sensitive to criticism.  Though they might take a little longer than others to get the things done, they complete the task with no errors.  They are not good at decision making.  Considerate Employees are usually great listeners, friendly, reliable, and dependable.  Give them a lot of encouragement and appreciation to make them very productive.

#2: The Direct

You can easily recognize someone with this type of personality by his/her competitive, tend to be active, decisive, always in a rush or risk-taking nature.  They are action oriented and self-motivators.  These types of employees speak loudly and quickly.  They hate being told what to do and closely supervised or micromanaged.  They are ready to take risks and break the rules.  They are not good at working with people who waste time by talking or planning a lot and will have a low-performance level in group settings. They hate loose talking.

#3: The Systematic

To recognise these types of employees, just have a look at their desk because they usually have a tidy desk clear of papers, except the ones they’re currently dealing with and the only materials visible will be work related.  They are excellent at implementation and follow-ups and also complete the tasks without much social interaction.  Those with systematic styles usually hate arguing and conflicts.

#4: The Spirited

If you notice someone, enthusiastic, optimistic, talkative, impulsive, and emotional characteristics, no doubt, he/she is a spirited personality.  They are good problem solvers and enjoy being with a team. People with this type of personality usually have a messy desk.  They need a lot of motivation to complete the tasks assigned to them.

Once you learn to spot these workplace personalities and adapt to them, dealing with them will not be a difficult task anymore.

Strategies to Deal with Difficult People

Here are some useful strategies for dealing with your most difficult colleagues and make them more productive:

#1: Don’t Take It Personally

I know it is easy to say, but difficult to follow when our emotions are running high and pulse racing.  When you have to deal with a difficult person, your initial response to the particular issue might be to react emotionally.  If you watch closely, you will find that it has nothing to do with you, they just happen.  When you take things personally you are giving another person a chance to question what you feel and believe.  Always try to keep your emotions under control.

#2: Put Yourself in Their Shoes for a Moment

Spend a little extra time to see the good side of a difficult person and things from their perspective.   Listen quietly and take note of what’s being said, because, it makes them feel valued and it is the best way to bring the situation under control and to focus on how you can help him/her to improve the productivity.

#3: Don’t Try to Change/Advise a Difficult Person

Accept the fact that the difficult personalities will always be around.  When you meet a difficult person, don’t try to change him/her into an easy person.  It won’t work, in fact, things may get worse.  Try to understand, why that person is behaving this way and what he/she values the most, and that is what drives them.  Maintaining respect for the person will help you to tackle it effortlessly.  Usually, it takes time and patience to change such difficult personalities.

#4: Avoid Confrontations

Confronting a difficult personality isn’t a good practice and the fact is that you can’t have a healthy, fruitful confrontation with a negative person.  When things are not going right, you may be forced to confront.  In such situations make sure you explain the problem calmly and professionally and let them know how he/she is making you feel and what your expectations are.

#5: What if all of this doesn’t work?

When you've tried everything possible to handle a difficult personality and if the situation gets worse, then it's time for you to look at your final option, consider asking a third person or higher authority to act as mediator.  Raising a formal complaint about their behaviour should be the last resort for solving the issue.

We all know that the main causes of many conflicts are basically a misunderstanding.  It is very important to communicate effectively to avoid conflicts.  In some cases, the best thing you can do is just keep distance or limit your interactions with difficult personalities.

Sometimes a difficult personality won't be nice to you no matter how good you are to them.  The best way to avoid such people is walking away or stops interacting.

These are five general strategies for dealing with those different personalities at the workplace, and following these simple tips, you will be able to navigate with them.

Keep calm and carry on!

Tell me! Do you have a difficult personality at your workplace?