by Jodie Peter
Love your job but dread to be in a colleague’s company? Dude, you’re not alone. Most work environments consist of people who are easy to get along with and people who are difficult to work with. The trick is to know how to deal with each draining personality without getting annoyed. Easier said than done sometimes but Maxim has a kick ass guide how to make your day smooth sailing. According to Doctor Helen McGrath and Hazel Edward’s book ‘Difficult Personalities’, people with ‘not so easy going’ personalities seem to damper the mood and energy of your everyday workplace, draining you and in turn making you less efficient and irritated. Do these personalities sound familiar?
The ‘Doom and gloom’ focus on whatever might go wrong; they assume the worst will happen voicing their opinion over and over. The ‘Moan and groan’ complain all the time even about trivial things. They find the annoying aspect and will focus on this and communicate their unhappiness. The ‘Snitch and bitch’ make nasty remarks about others and their motivations. What they say may contain some grain of truth but is usually said in a sneering way designed to ruin reputations. The ‘superiority personality’ reeks of the ‘I’m better than you’ persona. These people are narrow-minded, arrogant and have a permanent smug look on their face. The best way to deal with them is to point out the obvious fortune in having good luck where possible. As for the ‘inflexible personality’, the characteristics of this rigid persona consist of stubbornness and over controlling ways. Always be assertive and firm in your dealings with them as they will try to walk all over you and blame you every chance they get. When it comes to the ‘bullying personality’ never let it slip the first time, report it or tell somebody. The bully should immediately know that you won’t tolerate their behavior or intimidation. Keep records of all the details especially what was said; when it comes to a meeting you have saved up your evidence. Wowza, people have issues!
The common trait that the above difficult personalities share is insecurity. ‘’The reason people behave difficulty is because they draw attention to themselves with the fear they may never get noticed and being negative brings other people down and therefore will overcast any success that person seems to have.’’ Other annoying personalities that are less draining but might still sabotage your work ethics, is the ‘chatter box’ – cut conversations short and tell them you will speak later, perhaps place the blame on yourself, ‘’All I do is talk, I need to focus on my work!’’ The ‘slow coach’ – highlight deadlines and say you need documents the minute you delegate them, ‘’We need to push this deadline and get it out immediately!’’
Walk the walk, talk the talk and as Gandhi said, ”Be the change you want to see in the world.” (or at work!)
How to deal with each personality style?
Be open with an extrovert, set up business lunches and when you speak to them try to keep your palms open and visible. Your body language will express your openness and enthusiasm to engage. With an introvert you should communicate through emails and use subtle words that aren’t pushy or demanding. Avoid words like, ‘’We should, or we must’’ instead opt for words that are suggesting and open to disagreement. If you happen to be the introvert at work, try socialize more with your co-workers. If you happen to be on the other end of the scale, ease down your over the top communications with people and try keep the business meetings short.
Ways to deal with difficult personalities
- Don’t reinforce the negativity. Respond by raising your eyes, saying ‘Really’ and then changing the subject.
- Walk away, without being offensive.
- Try not to be alone with the. Dilute them with other people’s company.
- If have to work with them, remind yourself not to succumb to their negativity and find ways to stay positive about the work you are doing.
- Be assertive when necessary and say something like, ‘’Let’s break out of the doom and gloom mode. It’s bringing us down.’’
- Where possible, provide other ways for them to feel important and to be the center of attention. They will be less negative if they feel they are being acknowledged for their ‘real worth’.
Strategies for dealing with your own negativity
- Identify your own pattern. Be brutally frank with yourself.
- Don’t ignore feedback from people who act towards you with goodwill, for example, close friends, family or workmates who drop hints that you are being negative about a few people or things in your life.
- Remind yourself about the damage it will do to your relationships with your partner, family, friends or colleagues. Getting a reputation as ‘negative’ or a ‘moaner’ may be damaging for your career or home life.
- Double up on the positives. Make a resolution to praise rather than disparage. Look for assets rather than liabilities. Have a, ‘optimistic week’ where your stress the positives, in your head or out loud.
After all is said, done and tested, perhaps a six pack after office hours seals the deal. Beer seems to be the answer to most dilemas! Cheers!