If you have ever worked in an office, you understand that the work environment is a mix of all kinds of people. While some you might get on really well with, there are others we all tend to avoid at all costs. The interesting part is that according to a leading psychiatrist, Dr. Judith Orloff from UCLA, there are 5 main difficult personality types which can be found in every workplace.
How well you work with each of these types of people depends on understanding their personality types and how they react to different situations that they encounter in the course of their work. Let’s take a closer look at these personalities.
- The Narcissist Personality
A narcissist has an inflated sense of how important they are. For this reason, people with this personality type always look to be praised and are always seeking attention. In order to work with or supervise a narcissist effectively, it is vital that you understand that this person has very little regard for what his or her workmates feel.
Telling a narcissist how others feel about their behavior will not work since they tend to be extremely sensitive to any kind of criticism and will most likely react badly. The only way to keep a narcissist and ensure that he or she is productive, is to find an angle where what they do serves them best and boosts their sense of importance.
So, what is the best workplace role for this type of personality? Interestingly, narcissists are often most effective when placed in positions of power, since they value power very highly and will do their best in leadership roles.
- The Passive-Aggressive Personality
Passive aggressive behavior is a kind of anger that is not expressed outright, but is exhibited as a resistance to follow directions or co-operate in completing tasks. As a manager or co-worker to a passive aggressive person, it can be tempting to try and find out what it is that is making them angry in order to find a resolution. This would be a mistake; passive aggressiveness is a deep-seated character disorder.
Something else that you need to be on the lookout for is how you react to a passive-aggressive workmate. Because a person with this type of personality is likely to disappoint you by not helping out on tasks or by actively sabotaging your work, he or she can easily get to you before you realize it.
When managing or collaborating with a passive-aggressive person, it is important that you set out exactly what you expect from them right from the beginning. If you fail to be precise with your instructions, a passive aggressive person will find a loophole to slip through.
For this reason, passive aggressive people should generally be assigned to jobs that have very specific expectations and clear guidelines.
- The Gossip Personality
There will always be some degree of gossip in every workplace. However, when one of your employees or co-workers enjoys talking negatively about you, fellow employees, or even your competition, it is destructive behavior that needs to be curbed.
To deal with a gossip, you must first avoid getting sucked in yourself. This is because it is completely natural to want to know what people are saying about you, or to struggle to please everybody so that they do not say anything bad about you. Beyond this, you need to talk to the gossip and explain how their behavior is unhelpful in the workplace.
On the positive side, because gossips like to talk, they are well suited to roles that require people skills, such as sales or customer care.
- The Anger Addict Personality
People deal with tension in the workplace in different ways. In the case of anger addicts, they blame everything that goes wrong on their co-workers, are constantly yelling and generally give free rein to their feelings of anger.
Anger addicts are among the most challenging personality types you may have to deal with anywhere. Whatever the case, never let an anger addict get away with their unacceptable behavior under any circumstances. If you do not give them limits and establish strong boundaries, they can destroy the workplace with their tantrums.
If you are the manager of an anger addict, you may need to take him or her aside for a talk or have someone from your Human Resources department do so. Suggest that they go for counseling or take anger management classes. You may also have to accept that an anger addict may not have a future within your organization.
- The Guilt Tripper Personality
A guilt tripper will always look to make you feel self-conscious about any advantages they may feel you have at the workplace. If you give a highly sought-after assignment or a desired perk to someone else other than them, they will let you know just how aggrieved they are about it.
The major problem with a person who is a guilt tripper is that they do not know how to effectively communicate with their managers or co-workers. It helps to try and let them know how to say what they feel instead of framing it as something that someone did to them. This means replacing ‘You did x to me’ with ‘I feel x.’
What would be the best role for this personality type? The answer is: Anything that minimizes their contact with people. They could work with equipment or computers or on independent projects that need little to no collaboration.
As an organization grows, it becomes more likely that you will have to supervise or work alongside these difficult personalities. The key is to understanding what it is that makes them behave the way they do and to find ways to channel their energies in more beneficial ways. This will ensure that each day at the office is enjoyable and productive.