Working with Difficult People

Are you or someone you love working with very difficult people? Here is a list of some of the difficult characters and their personality traits, that can be encountered in the workplace.

By:  Dr. Laurel Schwartz

Maybe you work with difficult people or you have a spouse that comes home complaining about the people with whom they have to work.  Either way, it’s impacting on you and your family life.  Here is a list of some of the difficult characters I hear about in the workplace:

The Criticizer  - This is the boss who has to criticize whatever you do.  However, their particular forte is going after a project that you have worked on for a long time and on which, you’ve done a great job.  You turn it in and they just have to find something wrong with it.  For example, “The Criticizer” might say something like,  “Yes, it turned out great, but too bad you couldn’t have gotten it done sooner.”

The Fluffer – This is the person who has gotten to their position of power in the workplace, not because of talent but because they know how to flatter the boss.  “The Fluffer” often has other people do their work for them.  They then take credit for the work they didn’t do, when the boss likes it.  When the boss doesn’t like it, they blame the people around them.

The Goof-Off – This is the person who is on their computer surfing the web, ordering stuff on line or playing solitaire.  They never seem to get caught.  However, even if you complain to the boss, nothing changes.  Sometimes “The Goof-Off” doesn’t even show up for work.  They might call in sick or take a sudden and unexpected vacation.  The result of their behavior means that you have to work twice as hard.

The Underminer – This is the person who goes behind your back and tells the boss what you are doing wrong, looking to create professional leverage for themselves.  This is sociopathic behavior, but unfortunately, there are people out there who do conduct themselves this way.

The Chillster– This is can be an individual or the general culture within which you find yourself working.  You tend to be conscientious and hardworking.  Indeed, you are an employer’s dream.  However, this kind of boss is in no hurry to get anything done.   Your work ethic quickly makes you feel like an outsider and a bother.  This kind of boss might say something to you like, “Why can’t you just chill?”

The Old Fashion  - These are bosses and other employees who are set in their ways and are use to doing things one way – the old way/their way.  You want to try something new and create a better product or better experience for your customers.  You’ll have a great deal of friction with individuals like this, who will view you and your “newfangled” ideas as a threat.

Work relationships are an area in which I specialize.  For more information I can be reached at 203-539-1255 or drlaurel@drlschwartz.com or www.drlschwartz.com.

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