Different Personalities you get to Work (and DEAL) with at the Workplace
For most of us, we spend most of our lives at our workplace. If you work on a full-time 9 to 5 job, your workplace could feel like your second home. I have worked for different companies and I have experienced dealing with different personalities that have made my career life more interesting, challenging, infuriating, and fun. For me, working is not just being productive with your time and earn money, it’s also about sharpening that innate human survival instinct to thrive and grow in this corporate jungle that we call the “office” or whatever type of workplace you are employed in. I’ve had my share of the following colorful personalities and believe me, anyone of these people could be me or you or that person next to your cubicle.
Whiners are co-workers who habitually whine or complain on almost anything and everything they see at work. You can easily spot them constantly blaming other people and the company but themselves. This type of person works in the company for many years (and doesn’t have an idea why they’re still there) and used to be a model employee until the boss looks down on their ideas and suggestions or was criticized for their performance. As soon as bad news sets in, the Whiner jumps into action and now becomes Dr. Doom who enjoys watching co-workers feel angry or disappointed upon hearing the news. He or she will also turn out to be the No. 1 listener and sympathizer when other employees complain. As the cliché goes, “Misery loves company”. Whiners talk a lot behind their alleged “enemy” but they don’t have the balls to initiate a constructive discussion with person concerned.
How to deal
Whenever I encounter this type of personality at the office (which happens a lot of times), I try my best to put their viewpoints into perspective without necessarily agreeing to it or letting it affect me. It’s futile to attempt in changing their opinions because this type of person will bite your head off if you do. I am by no means perfect, as I sometimes complain when my patience and strength is stretched beyond its limits but I don’t really see the point of letting everyone know on a daily basis how rough your day was and how the world has treated you unfairly because everyone is not exempted from bad days.
There are times when some task-related issues crop up that’s beyond your scope or abilities and you need some reinforcements to fish you out of your dilemma. Then here comes The Know-it-all who gives unsolicited advice on how the problem should be resolved. Mind you, these type of people are actually very smart and talented and would have been a great help except that you just couldn’t stand another minute listening to how they were able to “troubleshoot the computer system within a blink of an eye” or they’re “the only people who can be trusted to automate processes in your department due to their comprehensive technical knowledge in creating Macros and other blah-blah-blah tools”. You just can’t help but roll your eyes (when this person’s not watching) because deep inside, you know you just don’t care if they graduated from an Ivy League school or they got their MBA at the age of 20. All you want is to get the job done and for them to just zip their mouth once and for all.
How to deal
Dealing with this type of personality is very challenging since they tend to be self-absorbed and overbearing. You can’t simply talk them into changing overnight because that won’t happen; they’ve got too much pride to do it. The best way to deal is to socialize with them outside the office. Maybe invite them to an after-work informal party just to get to know them better (maybe there’s something more beyond that overbearing nature). Know-it-alls sometimes used their shameless display of intelligence to mask themselves against any intimacy towards their co-workers. If you’re now good friends with this person, you can discretely suggest, that he tone down his over-the-top nature so people can appreciate and work better with him.
These people can be anyone at the office. It can be your manager, your supervisor, or a co-worker who share your ranking. Bullies use psychological or verbal browbeating to intimidate anyone they think are weak. They brazenly look down on others’ ideas, attitude, manner of dressing and others with the exception of their boss or someone above them. They take pleasure in putting others down and harass their victim with their antics anytime they feel like it.
How to deal
Unfortunately, bullies are not only in schools but they can also be found in a workplace environment. They can surely sap your self-confidence and can make you dread coming to work. Be careful when confronting with a bully. They tend to be spiteful when someone stands up and attempts to expose them. Your approach to this person will depend on how you were bullied, your rank, and your company’s rules on office bullying. It’s best to talk to human resource manager about this issue. Whatever the outcome of this situation is, just stay focused and keep a cool head. Never give this person the satisfaction that you have been manipulated.
The Loud-Mouth Cellphone Talker
One day, you are extremely stressed with the pressure your boss has placed on you and you just want to finish the project on time. You require a great dose of silence to be able to accomplish the task. You are in the middle of a report when suddenly, you hear your officemate's loud, piercing cellphone ringtone that’s enough to wake up the dead and then the call was answered with an equally effervescent voice. You don’t even to have ask this person, ‘who broke up with who’, or ‘what she ate for breakfast that caused her LBM’ because you heard everything (even those nitty-gritty details about their personal life that you’re too busy to care about.
How to deal
If this loud co-worker of yours happens to be your close friend at the office, you can casually insert in one of your conversation and say, “Your voice tends to get so loud at times”. Emphasize on ‘your voice is loud’ instead of ‘you are loud’ to make it sound less accusatory because that might leave them to feel defensive. Your co-worker will be surprised but might acknowledge it kindly. Just don’t expect that person to change this nasty habit right away as this is something that naturally happens to some people when they get too excited. If this loud talker is merely your colleague, you can tell this person in a professional and discrete manner that her volume is greatly affecting your productivity and that she should lower her voice. If she continues to be loud on the phone, you can try on those noise-canceling earphones for as long as your office allows it or let your supervisor intervene for you.
The Facebook Addict
Facebook is arguably one of the most popular social networking sites that connects people from different places and it’s also great place to share some status updates, stories, pictures and videos to your friends. But some people are extremely addicted to Facebook that they can’t wait to check out their friend’s profile at home or during lunch break. Spotting a Facebook addict is a no-brainer, really. When you pass by to get some coffee in the pantry, you glanced over this person’s shoulder and saw that they are busy building castles or farms with their Facebook games apps. Then you passed by again to get your report from the printer and saw that he’s still on Facebook while the rest of the team is hard at work (maybe, but who knows what they’re actually doing). Not only will Facebook make you unproductive at work, there are true stories of employees who were actually fired because they were caught browsing their Facebook account.
How to deal
I have a Facebook account but I’m not really obsessed with it that I’ll be itching if I don’t log in. My advice is to focus on prioritizing your tasks first before you get busy with the social media. However, if you’re a chronic Facebook user, I suggest that you don’t install Facebook on your smartphones or let your company IT guy disable your access to Facebook and other social media sites. Send your Facebook notifications to a dummy email address that’s not accessible at work so you won’t be tempted to check on it. There’s nothing wrong with being updated with technology for as long as you know the right place and time to use it.
The Yes Man
These are people who always tries their best to please their boss or anyone at the office. All you need is ask for help and this person will be there in a heartbeat. You rarely hear this person argue at work even if this person is right about something. When you need someone to work overtime or during Christmas or New Year, this person is your go-to guy because he would never say no.
How to deal
These people obviously don’t have their own mind and are maybe afraid to make a firm decision which includes saying ‘no’ when there’s too much on their plate. Just let this person know that you’re genuinely concerned about this and encourage this person to delegate tasks and be honest when he’s already overwhelmed with too many responsibilities. He’ll thank you for that.
The Office Gossip breathes on the latest scoop on rumors and controversies circulating in the office. They may deliberately or accidentally position themselves that will give them a great advantage of overhearing some confidential phone calls or some private conversations. Some people like to befriend the Office Gossip because they want to dig some fresh information that’s useful to them however, this proves to be unhealthy and may have some legal implications when done to the extreme.
How to deal
First, know when to draw the line between a friendly office camaraderie and nonsense gossip because they may seem similar but they’re actually not. As soon as you have recognized your office’s official gossip, be extra cautious when discussing some confidential information near them. If they volunteer rumors to you, casually tell them that you’re too busy to listen in what they have to tell you. Office Gossip flocks on those who show some interest on what they have to say.
This type of boss is well spoken of as a visionary with the intellect and skills that can bring a great fortune to the company. However, during the course of the week, the subordinates are left to wonder where this boss is, or worse, what he or she looks like in person. M.I.A Boss seems to be offsite most of the time and may have secretly adopted the 4-Hour Workweek principle by Tim Ferriss. This boss’s view on business and pleasure is quite clouded but their personal assistants insists that M.I.A Boss is extremely busy when in fact, this boss is probably in Ibiza right now, enjoying the beach and the party, while the team is sweating on the numbers for their pending project.
How to deal
The best way to deal with M.I.A Bosses is not to deal with them since they’re mostly out of the office anyway you would hardly notice they’re gone. If they are the owner of the company, there’s nothing much you can do but be grateful for the job instead.
They are newly hired employees who are either fresh out of college or have transferred from another company. You can often see them sizing up the room and observing everyone while they work as they don’t have much things to do on their first week. Newbies ask a lot of questions and writes down every answer given on a notepad. Some will already show their true character on the first month but over time, these newbies will evolve into one of the personalities mentioned above.
How to deal
If you’re assigned to train the newbie, you have to do it right so they won’t blame you if anything goes wrong. Give them enough time to figure things out on their own since not all things can be spoon fed. And of course, to make them feel welcome, invite them for lunch and visit their desks regularly to know how they’re doing.