Sometimes the key to success is in knowing when it is alright to avoid a colleague at work. Because our coworkers can often affect our job performance and focus, having the wrong association can be the difference between promotion and demotion. In some extreme cases, the casualty could even be a loss of employment. So how can a person navigate the many different personalities in the workplace to ensure personal success? Here are ten types of people to be wary of at work that, if need be, you may want to avoid.
- Blamers. The boss is fuming over a missed customer call. Mark, who is the service rep, immediately starts blaming his assistant for the oversite. When he realizes she was out sick, he shifts the blame to his cell phone, the new computer program, and lastly claims the customer is needlessly demanding. Blame shifters hate to take responsibility for any error because they believe this makes them look weak or vulnerable.
- Complainers. Susie comes into work with a new complaint nearly every day. The traffic was bad and it made her late. The deadline was unrealistic. The bathroom is dirty. Worse yet, she criticizes any new idea or process well before it is tested or implemented. Just being around her is exhausting. Underneath the complaining is actually attention-seeking behavior and a desire to be kept at the center of the discussion.
- Hoarders. John learns about a new technique that reduces his work processing time, but he refuses to share his knowledge with his colleagues or will share only a small portion of his new method. Information hoarding is a passive-aggressive way of outshining the perceived competition. Secretly, it demonstrates that John is able to figure out something his colleagues cannot therefore according to him only he should benefit from the knowledge. Additionally, by withholding key information it forces others to rely on John for the missed details.
- Guilt-trippers.Move over moms, guilt-tripping can happen even at work. Ann, a team manager, tries to encourage her team to produce more sales by saying that her job is in jeopardy if they don’t generate higher numbers. She takes it even further by pulling one person aside to say that their sales are bringing down the whole team. The use of guilt as motivation is the lazy way to inspire and shows a lack of managerial training.
- Wisenheimers. During a team meeting, Steven can’t resist the opportunity to demonstrate his superior knowledge by cutting others off and inserting his opinion. He comes across as a know-it-all who frequently irritates others with useless details and indisputable facts. Wisenheimers are often deeply insecure people who believe their knowledge is the only way they can stand out from the crowd.
- Braggers. Marie’s assistant comes back from a Yellowstone vacation excited about her latest adventure. But as she attempts to share her travel stories, Marie interrupts with her with a more adventurous vacation, better hotel accommodations, and prettier views. She seals the demoralization by sharing her pictures while criticizing her assistant’s photos. Braggers can’t stand to be out shown and frequently resort to belittling others.
- Deceivers. Ken’s confidence and smile have a way of disarming just about anyone. He seems to evade blame, deflect accountability, and artfully manipulate others with the greatest of ease. When co-workers start to see through the illusion of perfection, he manages to move up the ladder to another position. A person who looks too good to be true probably is. Deceivers like to cover up their true intentions.
- Close-lippers.Silence is not always golden. Beth remains silent at department meetings, refusing to offer any input even when prompted. Instead, she stares at her co-workers like a tiger studying their prey. Her patience in waiting for the right moment to attack is well-thought-out and happens when others least expect it. Close-lippers have learned that silence can be equally controlling as verbal bullying.
- Big Talkers. The opposite of a close-lipper is a big-talker. Allen talks a big game to customers about how well he is connected within the community and corporation. His list of conquests grows by the minute as he overinflates his numbers to everyone. Any attempt to bring him back to reality is countered with accusations of negativity and jealousy. Big talkers are afraid of being seen for whom they really are and use their calculated numbers to intimidate the competition.
- Ragers. Last but not least are the ragers. Tina is furious and embarrassed that upper management called her into a private meeting to express their concerns. So, she takes her anger out on her team by verbally assaulting nearly everyone in her path. Nothing is off-limits including things that happened last year, personality differences, how a person dresses, and when they take breaks. Tina obviously has poor anger management skills which really is a mask for deeper personal issues.
Being able to quickly identify these types of personalities at work and avoid them as much as possible could be a job saver. Sometimes it may be necessary to keep documentation of these events and report them to human resources when needed, but the timing of this should be calculated and not reactionary. To avoid such a hassle, however, use this list as a guide to help you steer clear of problematic personalities and perform more efficiently at work.