How to Deal With These Six Crazy Office Personalities – Without Going Crazy Yourself!
You may consider yourself a patient and tolerant person. But, when you encounter difficult office personalities who annoy or frustrate you, it can be challenging and stressful. The key to communicating and working with difficult people is to focus on the thing you have 100 percent control over — your reaction to them. You have to change how you react to people before you can change how you interact with them.
It’s also important to consider how much interaction you have with the person. Is it worth ruffling feathers if you only see the person once a month? If working with them is not an essential part of your job and you could go weeks or months without seeing them again, no one would blame you for just putting up with their quirks.
However, these six difficult office personalities are everywhere … both inside and outside the office … so take whatever chance you have to practice these sanity-saving tips. If you do, you’ll be better prepared for the future. (Like dealing with that — what is she, a teenager — at the dry cleaners who just stares at you mutely every time you drop off your clothes, and can barely muster a grunt when you request a little more starch for your shirts? Grrrrrrrrr!)
Here are 6 difficult office personalities and suggestions on dealing with them:
- Intimidating, arrogant, need to be right
- Expect others to be as aggressive or consider them weak
— Stand up to them calmly, not defiantly
— Do not engage them in confrontation, because you won’t win
— Once you’ve earned their respect, you may become friends!
- Eager to find fault but reluctant to take responsibility
- May appear weak, self-righteous, or morally superior
— Listen closely, in case they just need to vent
— Ask them to propose solutions
— Don’t condone their victim role, it will only reinforce it
- Despite body language to the contrary, insist nothing is wrong
- Unresponsive to questions or conversation starters other
- They’re just going through the motions until Friday hits
— Use open-ended questions that they can’t just nod to answer
— Ask a question, and then look at them silently for as long as it takes until they respond
— Tell them what you think may be going on and ask if your interpretation is correct
- Have great intentions but overcommit and can’t follow through
- Avoid conflict at all costs, and will tell you what you want to hear to escape
— Show them that you care about them so they can stop trying so hard to please you
— Help them realize that being honest with you won’t risk your friendship
— Don’t let them take on more than you know they can handle
- Assume everything and everyone will disappoint them, based on past experience
- May be suspicious of authority and resentful because they believe they are powerless
— Value them as the persons who foresee the obstacles
— Don’t argue with them, because they can’t be persuaded
— Steer them away from broad generalizations and demand specific examples
- Can be arrogant and condescending, always eager to prove they know more
- Value logic and data over feelings and intuition
— Show that you respect their expertise and depend on them for advice
— Don’t try to compete with their knowledge of facts and trivia
— If you must dispute their claim, be sure you’ve done your research, and ask for clarification or information rather than assert your version of the truth
Dealing with the difficult people in your life takes careful consideration. Most of the time, a heart-to-heart conversation is the right choice. But sometimes, a more roundabout approach will get you what you need. And occasionally, you can’t seem to get through to them no matter what you do (hey, it happens). When that’s the case, it might be time to let it just roll off your back and use a little humor.