“As a manager, I am constantly amazed at the difficult personalities that I deal with on a daily basis.  Can you help me understand and deal with them?”

Often people are hired because they bring a unique perspective to the organization.  However, in addition to their skills, they also have distinctive personalities, and some of these are difficult to get along with.  We all may recognize the following: 

·         The Bulldozer – the pushy, ruthless person who believes the end justifies the means, and if you get in the way, you will be mowed down

·         The Cutthroat – somehow you got on his “hit list” and now he will get even by gossiping or sabotaging your efforts

·         The Hothead  - this person explodes in a tantrum and sends everyone ducking for cover and wondering what just happened

·         The Expert – this person knows something about everything….just ask.  And your ideas are substandard and not worthy of attention

·         The Maybe Expert – although this person does not know it all, that does not stop him from expressing ideas that can throw the project off balance

·         The “I Volunteer” person – this person agrees to everything and leaves a trail of broken promises in his wake because there is no way to do it all 

·         The Negative Nelly – this person whines about everything and sees a cloud in every silver lining and discourages everyone 

Everyone does not respond to these people in the same way, and it will help to understand why they act as they do.  We will explore this in the next few columns.