Managing a practice of many different types of people and different types of personalities is no mean feat, but often all the training in the world won’t equip us for one of the most fundamental issues in managing people: problem personalities. Coping strategies for team members with tricky character traits tends to fall into two distinct areas – confront or avoid. Neither really helps, as confrontation can lead to inflaming the issue, and avoiding will inevitably lead to the problem getting worse over time.
Psychologists have defined three of the most challenging personalities, and they’re described for you below with tips on how to get the best out of them in the workplace. Recognise any of them…?
Craving praise and attention above all, narcissists will struggle to feel empathy for their colleagues, which can cause problems and breed negativity. These personality types won’t necessarily be moved to know that their behaviour has upset others or is affecting the office equilibrium, and they tend to be very sensitive to criticism at any rate. Narcissists will respond best to having their role defined in terms of how their efforts will benefit them – not the team or the business.
P-As can get you down without you realising it at first, because often their behaviour is intended to make others feel as if they’re ‘not worth’ bothering with. Open-ended tasks are not good for P-As, because this personality type will find a loophole and do it their way – or not at all. Crystal clear expectations, boundaries and deadlines are the order of the day with this one.
It’s sadly part and parcel of office life to some extent, but gossiping is first dealt with by not getting involved – in the discussions themselves or in trying to find out what might have been said about you. It’s tempting, we know. Confronting a gossip on their actions can help put a stop to the behaviour, or addressing the team in a more general sense about the effects of gossip is another way to blitz the issue. Putting your concerns and expectations in the public forum will give some colleagues more of a chance to opt out of any (possible) future spates of gossip more comfortably. Empower your gossip by putting them in a role that capitalises on their communication skills.
How do you deal with the more ‘testing’ personalities in your practice? Drop us a comment below, or take it to the forum for a more private audience. Our Practice Managers’ Forum is deliberately not Google indexed, so discussions cannot be brought up in an internet search and can only be seen by signed-up members of the forum.