Team Building Skills
We have all encountered difficult coworkers. What makes a coworker difficult is that he or she does not behave in the way you would like. You have probably met others who enjoy working with someone you think is difficult. It all has to do with your perception and how well the two of you "mesh." Each of us has a unique personality, and that is a good thing. Think how annoying it would be to work with people who were exactly like you.
Difficult coworkers often fall into specific categories. See if you can identify anyone from these descriptions:
(Please note that the descriptions below use "he" and "she" randomly. They are not written about specific people I know or hope to meet. There is no sexual stereotyping intended.)
- The Bully: The workplace bully is not all that different from the school yard bully of our youth. The bully tries to get things her way, and she will use power to get it. The bully may have a superior position, longer tenure with the company, or a nasty temper and use any or all of these to intimidate coworkers.
- The Flirt: Every day is a hunt for seduction to The Flirt. This person may be single or married and tries to seduce you with thoughtful words and gestures. The Flirt loves working on projects one-on-one or working late when no one else is around. While this person may appear harmless, she is working her way up the corporate ladder.
- The Talker: The Talker likes to chat about anything and everything. It seems like every time you turn around, there he is, chattering away. While The Talker is an extremely friendly person, he takes time away from your work.
- The Bandit: Have you ever had a great idea stolen out from under you? That's The Bandit's style. She innocently cases the workplace looking for great ideas, and then she presents them as her own. She may even swipe your written projects, too.
- The Whiner: Nothing can make The Whiner happy, and you will hear him complaining all day long. The complainer knows how things should be done, but there is always someone or something messing things up, and The Whiner ends up being unhappy. You will always hear about it, too.
- The Gossip: It seems that every office has at least one. The Gossip always has 'the news,' and freely passes it along the grapevine. Every little bit of information may be twisted and contorted to make the story even better.
- The Pal: The Pal discloses more about her personal life than you would ever want to know. She cannot wait until Monday morning to catch you up on all the details of the weekend. The hardest part about working with The Pal is that she expects you to reciprocate, and she displays great sadness if you keep quiet.
- The Spy: He is the manager's eyes and ears. Anything that happens will be reported, almost immediately, to the boss. The Spy has no loyalty to his coworkers and views being the stoolpigeon as the way to promotions.
- The Comedian: She just loves practical jokes, and she will keep upping the ante to try and humiliate everyone. The Comedian will put surprises in the drawers, plastic insects in the cupboards, and fake vomit in the bathroom. She just wants everyone to laugh.
- The Gem: The Gem is one of the most annoying types to work with because he seems to do everything right with no effort. He does not have to follow the same rules as everyone else. He gets all the praise, and he has the best perks.
While reading these descriptions, did you identify anyone you know? Did you maybe find yourself in one of the definitions?
Difficult people never think of themselves that way. They behave in the ways they have learned. It is your interaction with them that makes them "difficult."
Next section: Dealing with Difficult Types