How to work with a colleague with a different personality

p 1 how to work with someone with a very different personality

We’ve all had coworkers who get on our nerves. Possibly you labored with somebody whose loud chuckle was at all times interrupting your focus, or somebody who was continually taking credit score on your concepts. Possibly it was tougher to quantify—maybe you had been assigned to collaborate with a new coworker and nothing appears to click on between the 2 of you. You walked away confused about why there was underlying pressure that received in the way in which of delivering on a venture.

Some persons are simply annoying, after all. However the root of the problem might also be a elementary distinction in personality kind. Nonetheless, you don’t want to really feel powerless when confronted with a troublesome interpersonal dynamic.

“Behaviors will be realized,” says Stephan Dilchert, an affiliate professor of administration at Baruch School’s Zicklin Faculty of Enterprise. “Simply because you’ve a sure personality doesn’t imply you may’t behave in a different approach. [However,] personality is what comes naturally to you.”


Although personalities aren’t fastened and may fluctuate all through a individual’s life, researchers use exams, such because the “Huge 5” personality take a look at, to establish which traits are strongest in sure people. Figuring out your individual outcomes—and the different methods others may rating—might help you’re feeling higher about interpersonal relationships at work.

The Huge 5 take a look at scores customers on a core group of traits. The take a look at defines 5 domains that may categorize a large breadth of personalities: extraversion, agreeableness, openness to expertise, conscientiousness, and neuroticism.

Most individuals discover themselves becoming someplace alongside the spectrum of every attribute. However when two folks fall on reverse ends of a specific attribute, they could discover it particularly irritating to work with each other. This friction reveals how every worker is motivated by different incentives.

When you encounter a coworker with a dramatically contrasting personality, you don’t want to strive change the individual; you simply want to perceive how they’re motivated. Listed below are 4 difficult traits you might encounter within the office, in addition to recommendation for a way to deal with them.

Individuals who appear self-serving

Self-serving people sometimes rating decrease in agreeableness—mainly a person’s propensity to need others to like them. They’re don’t normally come off as heat or pleasant, and it’d seem to be they consider solely themselves. At an excessive, these coworkers might exhibit poisonous habits, like taking credit score for one more teammate’s work, or different narcissistic personality traits. 

“Some narcissists will be completely damaging to your office,” writes Quick Firm contributor and psychology professor Artwork Markman in a current article about different sorts of narcissists. “So, it is vital to have the opportunity to distinguish between individuals who act with confidence and people who are [actual] narcissists.” By this, Markman means to look out for traits like failing to acknowledge different folks’s concepts (or taking credit score for them) or displaying a synthetic stage of authority.

As a chief, strive dealing with these workers members with a direct method. If these colleagues proceed to mercilessly step over others to obtain their very own objectives, you need to make it clear their habits wants to be reformed, or else dismiss these people fully for the sake of crew cohesion. To close down these types of office toxicities it’s crucial to exhibit zero tolerance towards abusive behaviors.


Individuals who choose fights

In search of out interpersonal drama ought to by no means be the aim of a office, says Dilchert. Even in small doses, it may unnecessarily stir the pot of a previously well-functioning office and ferment tensions.

Nonetheless, there may be a model of battle that may be good, or no less than not damaging to a firm’s tradition. “Battle is a actuality we face within the office day-after-day. It’s not something unhealthy, per se,” says Dilchert. “[However] interpersonal battle is one thing we should always keep away from and shouldn’t create. That’s the massive distinction [between] dealing with battle productively, versus looking for [out] battle as a result of it makes you’re feeling higher.”

Sadly, coworkers who look to develop dysfunction in organizations are pursuing the much less useful kind of battle.

If attainable, go away these workers to work on solitary tasks. It’s additionally vital to make wholesome dependence on one another a a part of your organization’s mission. Make it clear that every individual’s success is reliant on the crew’s success. Don’t maintain again from asking one another questions. And, importantly, deliver the main focus off the person. This manner, no specific member can dominate with thoughtless habits that works towards the group.

Individuals who don’t make an effort to be good

Agreeable workers are simple to get alongside with and open themselves up to the remainder of the crew, as a skilled useful resource, but in addition a buddy. “[What] actually describes what agreeableness is: Being someone who likes to work with and cooperate with others, this sort of thought we’re working collectively towards a widespread aim, [which] contains compromise,” says Dilchert.

In distinction, a one that dislikes collaborative classes and continuously shoots down concepts, could also be somebody you need to be careful for. Much less-agreeable folks don’t really feel as uncomfortable letting folks down as a individual excessive in agreeableness. Due to this fact, take into account being extra blunt once you’re delivering suggestions. Don’t strive to be overly pleasing your self. They received’t essentially respect what you’re doing, or perceive why.

Although not all of those people are domineering, some are. Within the scenario you do run up towards a dominating colleague, licensed therapist Melody Wilding suggests interesting to their results-driven nature. Make these colleagues really feel like they’re a part of the answer—or no less than present them why sure aggressive habits won’t get them the place they need to go.

Since these people are sometimes very task-oriented, says Wilding, articulate difficulties and the underlying penalties in concrete phrases. And reframe your conversations so it’s clear how their behaviors might negatively have an effect on productiveness and to obtain nice outcomes.

To deal with these coworkers, hyperlink up with others in your crew who’re proponents of sharing concepts in a constructive approach. As a substitute of permitting a single “objectives solely” colleague to bulldoze a dialog, use a “spherical robin” format to share concepts extra collaboratively.

People who find themselves unhealthy at deadlines

Conscientious folks, in accordance to the Huge 5 characterizations, are those that weigh their choices and are in a position to see their actions by way of to the tip.

On the opposite aspect, these people who’re decrease on conscientiousness might not really feel assembly deadlines and adhering to commitments is a main precedence. They don’t really feel inside stress to comply with a supervisor’s guidelines or organizational norms. They could come off as unreliable or wrestle with sticking to plans. These are individuals who’d reasonably do issues their very own approach than comply with set requirements. That’s not at all times a unhealthy factor, after all, however it may be annoying once they want to meet strict deadlines.


To work with these folks, it’s good to put stakes behind assembly deadlines and organizational requirements. These types of workers might not see the significance of responding to their deskmate’s request inside a affordable timeframe, however might view issues in another way in the event that they know the crew’s superior will verify particular person outcomes after a sure variety of days. In different phrases, put in place supervision methods. And for those who want some clear documentation of office expectations, refer slackers to your group’s performance-management insurance policies, which can lastly jolt these crew members into motion.