A workplace where people work together for a common interest, the good of the organization, is a healthy and productive environment.  However, most people have stories about those difficult co-workers who wreak havoc on that collaborative atmosphere.  Clarifying perceptions of why people demonstrate these behaviors is the first step to dealing with them. 

Most people fall into one of two categories, either task oriented or people oriented.  Task oriented people are motivated by a need to get the job done or a get it done right.  This article focuses on the get it done mentality.  Awareness of others’ feelings or perceptions become unnecessary if it does not contribute to task completion. For this group, it is all about control, and their behaviors may become assertive or even careless and aggressive. 

The bulldozer, the cutthroat, and the expert often feel the need to control. When you are under attack by the bulldozer, focus on common interest, use “I” statements, and resist defending your position.  For the cutthroat, describe specific behaviors, maintain eye contact, and ask questions to draw out their positions.  Give attention to the expert and ask for entailed explanations.