Love your job but sometimes really dislike dealing with some of the people you work with? Trust us, you are not alone. In fact as a manager and leader in your feed and grain business, your job heavily involves dealing with people — your subordinate employees, other managers and co-workers, customers, and others. Some people are always pleasant, easy and enjoyable to work with, but as you well know, often you will find some very difficult people at work. As a manager, you are much like an athletic team coach; you must find ways to encourage cooperation and productivity in order to have business success, as well as more enjoyable workdays. In this month’s column, we discuss some of the types of difficult people you may encounter and some of the approaches for dealing with these oh-so challenging souls.
Who are the difficult people?
Difficult people come in a variety of packages — some are much less pleasant to unwrap and open than others. Columnist Susan Heathfield suggests that dealing with difficult people is easier when the person is generally just obnoxious or when their behavior impacts multiple people; dealing with them is more challenging when they are only attacking or undermining you. Why are some people difficult to work with? Some people just generally enjoy being difficult; it is part of their personality, while others do not recognize — in fact they are oblivious to that fact — that they are difficult; and others are often only difficult in specific situations. Let’s see if you recognize some of these example types of people (we borrowed some of these names from Dawn Rosenberg McKay at about.com).
The Talker, aka Chatterbox, aka Chatty Cathy or Chatty Chuck — As the name suggests, this person talks a lot, about any number of topics. They are not afraid to share their thoughts. They typically do not mean any harm, but their talkativeness impacts yours, others, and their own ability to work.
The Gossiper —This person wants to know everything about everyone, seems to know it, and works on sharing it with anyone and everyone who will listen. Sometimes this person is also the Talker. One problem with the Gossiper is that gossip often contains both truths and untruths; it may also be being shared behind someone’s back. Depending on the amount of time spent talking, the Gossiper can also detract from others’ ability to work. And clearly if the Gossiper is spending all their time gathering and sharing gossip, it is impacting their own work too.
The Sniper — The Sniper displays covert hostility and displays it with subtle behavior. They find pleasure in using sarcastic tones of voice, giving humorous put-downs and potshots, and shooting disapproving looks. The Sniper is more consciously difficult than the Talker and Gossiper.
The Complainer — This person is always unhappy about something; it may be work related or it may be family related, or it may just be something basic or general. But, there is always something for the Complainer to complain about. Not only does the recurring grumbling bother others and impact their work, it brings unnecessary negativity to the workplace.
The Silent One — A consistently Silent person is difficult to work with because he/she does not participate or contribute to discussions. They may only contribute by saying “I don’t know.” They may not behave socially and may seem to ignore others.
The Credit Grabber — Credit Grabbers are difficult because they take all the credit for projects and do not acknowledge the work and assistance of others.
The Domineerer (or Dominator) — A domineering person can be so in a variety of ways. They can be perceived as directly aggressive. They seem to force their ideas on others, and others often feel that if they do not just agree and go along, then the Dominator will make them regret it later. The Domineerer often dismisses the suggestions of others and prevents others from attempting to contribute and participate. They may always need to have the last word in any discussion or piece of work. A dominating person may also verbally abuse others. They might frequently display unpredictable behavior and suddenly go into a rage. They may stare at you attempting to stare you down. Part of their dominance comes from being unpredictable and keeping other people fearful and guessing.