Workplace Personalities and the Challenges Managers Face

Dealing with the difficult.

Jun 26, 2018

Corporate Leaders and managers face real challenges when dealing with a cornucopia of personalities in the workplace.  Smooth-sailing operations require an understanding of these differences to better manage staff as individuals and teams.

There will always be interoffice conflicts to diffuse. After all, while conflicting ideas and opinions are conducive to innovation and creativity when the conflicts escalate, the result is counterproductive. Understanding problem personalities will help you do it more effectively, creating both a peaceful and productive environment for staff.

You may recognize a few of the following personality types.

Personality Types

The Victim: Each day, the victim wears a face of gloom and doom. They think everyone is out to get them; they bring every personal problem to work and make mountains out of molehills; eternal victims who revel in the attention they get from injuries sustained or other misfortunes. This personality can lower morale and productivity in the office.

How to Deal

Identify specific qualities, keep detailed records of any negative behaviors, set boundaries and enforce them. Approach in a team-like manner by establishing clear lines of communication inferring that employees should speak up if they experience any negative instances, give feedback individually, discuss personal accountability, and take action if behaviors do not improve.

The Narcissist: The classic narcissist personality believes the world revolves around them. What they have to say is always more important than what others are offering – hence the need for continual “speak-over.”   Seeking constant recognition, they don’t take kindly to constructive criticism and are most difficult when dealing with change. Workplace narcissists can be successful and goal-focused to the extent to which they knock down anyone in their way; they like to control others, are master manipulators, and point fingers at others.

How to Deal

This personality can be the most difficult to handle. Narcissism is an actual personality disorder - managed them accordingly. They can be destructive in the office setting, and behaviors can escalate to bullying co-workers, spreading rumors, and being offensive. Document their actions and if you feel that matters are out of control, sit down with this person and discuss each behavior, and its consequence. It will reinforce the company's tolerance policy. If this doesn't discourage the undesirable behavior, walking papers are in order.

The Whiner: Not a real friend-catcher, people run for the hills at their impending approach. They live to complain and complain about living. Nothing pleases them, and they frequently gripe about management, and company policies. This personality type drains the energy from those around them as they spread verbal disease throughout the company destroying work environments.  

How to Deal

Stop them in their tracks, no matter how big or small their beef. Reinforce your workplace standards and policies and enforcement regarding the issue. Have conversations in private and provide insight into how their behavior is destructive, and suggest they air any complaints to you, not coworkers. Add consequences to the discussion, and if all else fails, it's time for an exit interview.

As management, you almost need a psychology degree to be able to manage so many different personalities under one roof. Suffice it to say; you need to learn about these variations to provide a safe and pleasant work environment for all staff. The most important thing is to realize that no two people are alike, each have different demeanors, and each contribute to the whole. Open lines of communication with staff, and your involvement in the day-to-day helps you to know your staff, and it supports a healthy team environment.

Since 1979, Lofton Staffing has built a reputation on providing staffing solutions that companies can rely on to make their businesses more efficient, cost-effective and profitable. They provide the best service possible by setting high standards and strive for excellence in every aspect.  Contact us today.




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