Handling Those Difficult Personalities in the Workplace with a few practical tips!


You just landed your dream job. In fact, you’ve been secretly watching this company for many years, and were beyond thrilled to receive a job offer. But that dream job quickly turned into a full blown nightmare after meeting your new co-worker: Mr. Terrible!

He gossips, complains, and yes! Controls every situation – making it nearly impossible to get things done.

If this sounds familiar, you aren’t alone. Managing difficult personalities is not an easy task, even for the most experienced. Use these strategies to take the edge off dealing with difficult personalities at work.

Negative Feedback, with Less “Bite”

Mr. Terrible might seem friendly, that is, until you give him negative feedback. The storm clouds have officially arrived. To avoid this situation, you might be tempted to hide in your office, or never give constructive feedback again. Instead, try the “feedback sandwich.”

This technique eases a situation with positive feedback, followed by negative feedback, followed by positive feedback.

For example, “I noticed the reports you’ve been completing are really accurate (positive). If we could focus on meeting the deadline, though (negative), then I bet our team could get even more momentum (positive).”

See how that goes? Give it a try, you might be surprised.

Cracking the Patterns

For difficult personalities, asking a simple question during an inconvenient time might send them over the edge. Avoid this by figuring out how the other person works, and do your best to avoid interrupting their natural productivity flow.

For example, they might prefer to receive an email, rather than a knock at the office door. And remember, one of the best weapons against Mr. Terrible is asking him a very logical question in a very innocent way. Since there is only one answer to the question, Mr. Terrible will realize it himself as he answers.

Pick Battles Carefully

Your mother was right when she said to “choose your battles.” For each workplace conflict you deal with (even if it’s not really your fault) – there is a cost. And that cost is time. Focus on your priorities, and let the little stuff go.

The best performers understand the importance of working well with others. If your co-workers aren’t productive, than neither is the whole team. The best performers create priorities that focus on the company’s goals. But when enough is enough, look to your manager for guidance. After all, their job is to act as an arbitrator in the really tough situations.

If Mr. Terrible is just too much and you can’t take it anymore, perhaps you would like help finding a new position? If so, CERS can help. Simply call or email us today for more information at 561-910-8000.!

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