Whether you’re still on campus or have just landed a full-time job, most of what you’ll be doing requires teamwork. Unfortunately, not everyone you’ll come across will be easy to work with. Here’s how to deal with challenging personalities.
Self-absorbed and insecure, these people can test the patience of anyone around them. They will try to take over situations and will make it difficult for others to participate. Deep down they want praise, but their behavior causes the opposite reaction. Deal directly with them, perhaps even praising what they’ve done right, but suggest that several people have important information to contribute and need to be recognized as well.
They can be dishonest so watch out. A “fraud” may take your work and claim it as their own. Approach this person and let them know you are onto them. If you have concrete proof, tell your supervisor, but don’t come across as a victim. Learn from this experience and share your ideas with people you trust when you want feedback.
These people make excuses to try to get out of pulling their weight. They will sit back while the rest of the group works hard on the task at hand. Don’t ignore their laziness—confront them in a calm, direct way. Let them know that their contribution is important to the project. Point out one of their strengths and what they bring to the project.
They take advantage of others to get ahead. Be especially careful not to get caught in their “web.” Try to understand what makes them tick. What is their agenda? Who are the people they’ve built alliances with? Do you have something they want, and if you let them have it, can they do something for you, in return? Keep your distance until you know the answers and have your next moves planned.
The tables are turned
Think of times when you might have been “the show off.” What was the situation? Why do you think you took that role on?
Was there a time when you acted in a fraudulent way? What happened and why did you resort to that type of behavior? Were you insecure?
Have you been lazy at times and convinced someone else to do your work? How did that make you feel—did you feel a little guilty?
‘Fess up to manipulation. Think of an instance when you did it. What was your real motivation? What happened as a result of behaving this way?