Every workplace has them. They never come to work on time; they invade your personal space; and they eat their favorite hot, smelly lunches at their desks. They never refill the coffee pot, they shout on the phone during personal calls, and they complain about every little organizational change. One of the biggest challenges in dealing with difficult employees is remaining professional.
Common difficult personalities
Here are seven difficult employee personalities that you might face where you work:
- The Bully—Dominates conversations and manipulates people to get what he wants
- The Prima Donna—Only looks out for “numero uno,” and does so in dramatic fashion
- The Control Freak—Constantly noses into your business and trusts no one
- The Know-It-All—Converses with coworkers in a condescending manner
- The Gossip—Only talks to others to get information about office happenings
- The Complainer—Uses every interaction to whine about the smallest of changes
- The Dirt Bag—Makes inappropriate and suggestive comments to coworkers
These personalities range from annoying to malicious, and could represent coworkers, subordinates, bosses, or senior management. Their impact could be merely distracting, in which case you need to be able to tune it out and keep up your production. But if it becomes more serious, know when to take it to the next level (i.e., your boss or HR).
So how can you handle a difficult employee?
The next time you are faced with a difficult person, try to view it as a learning experience. Becoming a better communicator will help you diffuse problems as they arise. And in the long run, being able to deal with all types of personalities will be beneficial to your career.