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A Guide to On-the-Job Harmony

November 03, 1994|From Associated Press

In their book "Dealing With People You Can't Stand," Rick Brinkman and Rick Kirschner list 10 specific personality traits that represent people at their worst.

The Tank: Confrontational, pointed and angry, the ultimate in pushy and aggressive behavior. Solution: Command respect. Hold your ground, interrupt the attack, state your point in a non-threatening way.

The Sniper: This covert operator identifies your weaknesses and uses them against you behind your back or in put-downs in front of others. Solution: To bring the sniper out of hiding, stop what you are saying, repeat what the individual has just said. Ask how that is relevant and perhaps confront them alone later.

The Grenade: Explodes suddenly into unfocused ranting and raving about things that have nothing to do with the circumstances. Solution: Take control. Get their attention, reduce intensity.

The Know-It-All: Seldom in doubt, this person has a low tolerance for correction and contradiction but if something goes wrong you will be to blame. Solution: Open their mind to new ideas. Backtrack respectfully, blend their comments with yours, present your views indirectly, turn know-it-alls into mentors.

The Think-They-Know-It-All: This person doesn't know much but doesn't let that get in the way. Exaggerating, bragging, misleading and distracting, they pull you off track. Solution: Give their bad ideas the hook. Give them a little attention, ask them to clarify, give an account of the real situation.

The Yes Person: Quick to agree, slow to deliver, the Yes Person leaves a trail of unkept commitments and broken promises in an attempt to please. Solution: Make it safe for them to talk honestly, help them plan, ensure commitment, strengthen the relationship with them.

The Maybe Person: Puts off crucial decisions until it's too late and the decisions make themselves. Solution: Establish a comfort zone, clarify their options, then ensure their follow-through.

The Nothing Person: This person provides no verbal or nonverbal feedback. They often act as if you're not there. Solution: Plan enough time, ask open-ended questions expectantly, lighten the conversation, try to guess what they're thinking.

The No Person: Deadly to morale, able to defeat big ideas with a single syllable. Doleful and discouraging, they drive others to despair. Solution: Use them as a resource, leave the door open, acknowledge their good intent.

The Whiner: They feel overwhelmed by an unfair world. Their standard is perfection and no one measures up. Solution: Listen for the main points, interrupt, shift the focus to solutions, draw the line.

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