Dealing With Different Personality Types in the Workplace

“Life is 10% what happens to you, and 90% how you react to it.”

Working in an office environment (or any type of workplace really) means having to deal with all different kinds of people; and sometimes getting along with all of them can be a bit of a challenge, and when people are hard to deal with, it can lead to slower productivity and missed deadlines.

Different people need to be dealt with in different ways and as individuals; you would deal differently with a touchy-feely person, than you would with a no-nonsense type of person.

What follows are some tips on how to deal with all different personality types.

Find out how other people like to work and adapt accordingly
If someone would rather be emailed than have you stop by his or her office, or vice versa, take note. Do what you can to not interrupt other people’s processes (when it can be avoided) and you will be looked at as a team player. Find out what personality types people have, and adapt your behavior towards them accordingly.

Everything is not a battle
When you make the decision to engage in a workplace conflict, it causes work to get delayed and people to become stressed. You need to decide what your priorities are, and let all the other things go. Not everything has to be a battle, and you need to figure out when you should push something and when you should let it go.

Realize that everyone is in this together
Different personalities can be great for a workplace because it allows there to be many different opinions and ideas. It’s just important to remember that everyone is working towards the same thing: the success of the company. It’s ok for people to be passionate and have opinions about work; it means they care.

Be prepared
For the most part, people will repeat patterns and behave predictably. If you can prepare yourself with a response to a certain behavior, you’ve won half the battle. Play out the situation in your mind or with a friend, and come up with a solution that will resolve the issue in a mature and rational way.

Don’t take it to heart
More often than not, people act the way they do because of something personal that is going on with them. The same thing goes for difficult co-workers. It likely doesn’t have much to do with you, even though it may feel that way. It doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but it can help to explain why it may be happening. Find some common ground somewhere with them, something that will at the very least help you to exist together civilly.

Above all, most people just want to know they are being heard. People have different areas of expertise, that’s the value of working on a team. One person can’t know it all or do it all, so everyone needs to respect each other’s strengths, ask others for input and work together.

Some Common Problem Personalities in the Workplace

These people resist direction, they think they always know what is best and they ignore even the nicest of advice or suggestions. Not only do they think they do not need to improve, they think everyone should consider themselves lucky to work with them.

How to Deal:
-Check your own ego at the door; having a head to head with them is usually not worth the time and energy.
-Be assertive: don’t let a bully win.
-Distance yourself: deal with them in small amounts then walk away.

It can be hard to deal with gossiping co-workers, as you can’t really control what people talk about. But gossip is bad for the work environment; it leads to distrust and hurt feelings.

How to Deal:
-If someone comes to you with a juicy bit of info, don’t bite. Lead by example.
-Deal with the specific offenders, not the entire office as a whole.

The Grumpy Gus
Hearing someone complain day in and day out is exhausting for everyone, and can completely crush office morale.

How to Deal:
-Provide constructive suggestions to their specific complaints. If they are complaining about something in particular, say, “well, we can solve that by…”
-Confront them in private to have a discussion about their attitude. Maybe they truly don’t realize they complain so much, or how much it affects everyone else in the office.

Whatever the personality types that show up in a workplace, there are always going to be people that don’t get along or individuals that are much harder for everyone to deal with. But by arming yourself with some of these strategies, hopefully dealing with any difficult coworkers becomes just slightly less challenging then before.

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