Every day we deal with different personalities in different environments. You have your home dynamic and then your work. People can spend as much as a third of their lives at work, so learning how to deal with different personalities is a type of skill set everyone should have. I was reminded of the challenges different personalities can have during a meeting.
Today they’re 16 different personalities that are recognized. Personalities can be fluid, and many of us fall somewhere between or sliding back and forth along the scale throughout our lives. Personalities are affected by the environment, our experiences, and genetics. Fundamentally, people can change, and without getting too clinical, understanding how personality traits work can help us adapt our approach to suit any social setting.
I can start talking about difficult personalities like the narcissist, passive-aggression, or the angry person, but those are the very extremes and are not accurate representations of a typical person at work. People can be different personalities in different situations. Being calm, cool, and levelheaded is guaranteed to help any situation from escalating into a verbal fight.
Here are some general tips for managing and learning about personalities in the workplace:
Defining the norm
To understand someone, you need to observe them. Everyone is different, so knowing what is normal for an individual can tell you about what is going on in their life. What are their typical mannerisms? How do they typically dress? Do they talk a lot? When they do something out of the norm, you can recognize it. It could be positive or negative. You never know unless you have a good handle on what is typical for that person.
Know your audience
Knowing who you are dealing with is a great advantage when preparing for a meeting. Scripting your talking points is always a good idea to ensure you cover what needs to be said. Adjust your tactics accordingly when someone does something not in their character.
It is much better to get input from a group of people than one person. Collaboration always promotes a positive environment that many personalities are alright with. Everyone feels a part of the process and is more willing to accept any of the decisions. We should all be working toward a common goal. If people are working alone, the result is usually a reduction in efficiency and morale and contributes to developing a cultural barrier.
It’s not personal
When coworkers act up, it can sometimes result from a bad day, stress, or home problems. It’s probably not about you. They could also lack the communication skills to deal with the situation. If others are being negative or unpleasant, be the bigger person and diffuse it to create a hostile environment. Remember, you could be the next one with a bad day.
Let’s assume everyone is working towards the same goal and cares about their work. If you are a professional, this would be the case. Address all problems directly, and don’t be afraid to end the conversation and schedule a meeting later. As they say, “cooler heads prevail.” Try to be positive and find common ground while being willing to compromise.
Check egos at the door
Everyone has an ego, some more than others. People with large egos usually prop themselves up to stand out while thinking they are smarter or above everyone else. These people can cause some damage because they are not afraid of a fight. Read the situation carefully and pick your battles. Lead by example and thank them for their suggestion instead of engaging in negative conversation. Demonstrate that you are flexible, saying, “I’m not sure about that, but let’s confirm before we make any final decisions.” Be armed with facts and ask probing questions. “Why do they believe something to be true or where they found their sources?” The better prepared you are, the better you can thwart any know-it-all egocentric person.
Did you hear?
Office gossip can be divisive, distracting, and hurtful in the workplace. It chips away at morale and breeds negativity. It is also a form of bullying. In many cases, it is factless. Chatter can sometimes get out of hand and elevate to harmful levels. If you find yourself in this situation, you have control over a few things. Please don’t participate in the conversation or spread it. If you do join the conversation, say something positive about the person. Walking away or changing the subject are options too. Introducing humor to a situation can defuse an escalating discussion. Gossips usually have excellent people skills, so give them positive things to talk about.
16 Different Personalities Test: Want to know what your personality is? Take this fun test to learn and see the breakdown.