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Challenging Personalities

Personality and Relationships

Understanding your peers

“What other people think of me is none of my business.” - Eleanor Roosevelt

Check out your personality type at:

Many of us spend countless hours at work or school, which means we spend more time with others you don’t have a personal relationship with than with your love ones and friends!  That said, dealing with a variety of personalities in the workplace and society in general can really take a toll on one's health and well-being, as well as on the entire company, school or organization.

What is Personality?

Personalities have to be understood before you can actually begin to  fathom how to blend into any culture. Personality traits or even disorders are many and are not black and white! There are  personality types, antisocial personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and narcissistic or sociopathic personality disorder. There are many but, let’s just talk about being anti-social or not feeling like you fit into society. One’s personality is made up of how you think and feel and it is not going to change; behaviors can, personalities can’t.

How personalities can control the workplace or classroom

Various personalities can negatively affect the well-being of individual workers/students as well as entire organizations, so it is important that expectations and boundaries are set so there are no assumptions when using feelings or impressions of others as the base waters get muddy.

Examples of "toxic behaviors" or “perceived toxic behaviors” can damage the environment. Make it clear that the following is not allowed: demeaning comments, gossip, double standards, snapping at others, and taking credit for the work of others.  

The best examples of a good working environment is changing the behaviors to  those of supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, teamwork and negotiating differences with clear expectations and boundaries.

Even in the absence of difficult personalities, personality styles that do not work well together can result in conflict and be the downfall of the employees and the organization as a whole. Conflicting personality styles is a common cause of workplace conflict and bullying in schools. Problems can occur over the way that people prefer to accomplish tasks or interact with one another. For example, some people may prefer not to socialize or have any distractions during certain hours. They may keep their office door shut or stay in their own area while others may see this as unfriendly or even rude behavior. It is not.

7 Organizational and Challenging Personalities

#1: The Gossip

A common challenging personality type found in many environments is "the gossip." This type goes without much explanation, as it is common knowledge that people like this get their title from talking about other people (often behind their backs) and spreading rumors or exaggerations about others (which are oftentimes untrue or exaggerated versions of the truth). If you have ever found yourself in a conversation with the gossip, you probably know what to expect from them. You may have even found yourself the victim of their bad habits, maybe without even realizing i,t and you participated. People will always judge – you judge… I judge.. but keep it to yourself.

Gossips create drama in order to entertain themselves and take the heat off them. Indeed, talking about other people may be a way to deflect attention away from their own bad traits (i.e., poor work performance/laziness/boredom) or a way to create situations that they find amusing. Gossips may also hold the misguided belief that their gossip is a way to connect with others with whom they share their gossip.

To communicate effectively with the gossip:

Try not to gossip or leave a conversation negatively where it is going on. Just beware that you may create more gossip by ignoring this behavior, and become the target of it.

Professionally, try not to share details of your personal life with the gossiper.

Set a good example for others.

#2: The Accuser: finger pointer

Accusers are another common type of challenging  personalities. There are times when most of us find ourselves pointing the finger at someone else when perhaps we were the cause of a situation or problem. This takes the heat off you as well. Accusers can also be referred to as finger pointers, blamers, guilt trippers. They are those who constantly shift responsibility away from themselves and onto others whenever things go wrong. Rarely do they acknowledge or apologize for their own misgivings, mistakes, bad decisions, or poor performance and are often felt as victims themselves. Often times they stretch the truth in order to convince others that their version of events is accurate and factual even when it's not.

To communicate effectively with the accuser:

 Verify facts

Don’t fall into the trap

Boundaries; there is a need for ones on safety and limits, proceed with caution

#3: The Drama Queen

This challenging personality is a highly emotional and theatrical type that can fly off the handle at any time. They are very emotional and reactive people. Drama Queens may have traits that show a pattern of excessive emotionality, attention-seeking, need for excitement, act flamboyant theatrically in speech and behavior, and use of exaggeration to maintain largely superficial relationships for the purpose of getting their emotional needs met.

In order to communicate effectively with the drama queen:

Use praise then deliver the critiques.

Be calm and ignore their fly off the handle personality

#4: The Control Freak

This personality is the type who is often nitpicky and critical of others who do not do things their way. Such people may have traits of obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) even if they do not have the disorder itself. They often feel the need to control the outcome of seemingly everything and everyone around them and may even step over appropriate boundaries and attempt to control situations that aren't relevant to their own job, or duties. They may also be perfectionists and have impossibly high expectations for themselves and others, even if it is none of their business. In some cases, they may be a valuable asset to the organization due to their high attention to detail.

Communicating effectively with the control freak may be a great challenge, especially since he or she may very well be your supervisor or boss. The control  may come from a lack of knowledge, so tread lightly if this is your boss.

Some strategies you may consider include:

Give praise for their attention to details and contributions

Don’t take it personally

Let it go!! Let it go.

#5: The Victim (Eeyore syndrome)

The victim is a personality type found in many organizations and is an obvious one to spot. This is the person who is often a constant complainer and attempts to draw people's attention to their problems (or perceived problems) every day. For example, they may complain about their work duties and try to convince everyone that they aren't treated fairly by others or have more work than everyone around them. Or they may play the victim when something goes wrong on a team project and claim that they were left out of important conversations. One study identified common personality traits of workplace victims and found that they "tended to be less independent and extroverted, less stable, or insecure". 

In order to communicate effectively with the Eeyore:

 This takes patience, empathize and gently tell them you need to get back to work or you are needed elsewhere.

Be a Pooh! And spread some honey

Have Boundaries

#6: The Quiet Type

The quiet type of personality is a self-explanatory one and often easy to pick out. This type is not necessarily a difficult or challenging personality but can be a confusing one. This is the person who are aloof, standoffish and reserved in an organization, may sit at their desk a lot (instead of conversing at the water cooler or joining everyone for lunch or drinks after work), and may close themselves off to others by staying at their desk, keeping their door shut, or even wearing headphones.

Some tips for effective communication include:

Don’t push them to communicate or fraternize with everyone,

Give them more space than you would others to respond to you and communicate their thoughts or feelings.

Take time and the initiative to get to know them so they are comfortable around you.

Don’t take it personally if they don’t interact with you as other, it’s just not part of their DNA.

#7: The Passive-Aggressive Type

Passive-aggressive types can make very difficult coworkers and fellow students to interact with, as they may not be as easy to spot as others and can do real damage in the long run. They act or perform in phony ways - for example, hiding their true feelings by pretending everything is okay when they're actually upset - and have a tendency to appear calm, cool, and collected at all times since they keep their negative feelings pushed deep down and not facing the facts. They talk around everything except what they really want to say. They can also ignore you to be in control. A classic sign of this type is the fact that they may do things to sabotage the work or performance of others, or get revenge in other.

In order to communicate with this personality type:

 Avoid reciprocating their behavior

Confront the factual problem using tact and direct communication

Have accountability and bring it to their attention by repeating your needs


In the long run, all of us find ourselves working with a variety of personalities  in our lives.  By understanding what personalities are and the types, you may be able to better navigate your relationships at school, work and in your community. 

1. Effective communication with all co-workers or people you have to deal with on a day to day bases. This includes setting clear boundaries

2. NEVER try to change a  person’s personality, it’s a waste of energy and unrealistic.

3. Change the behaviors. If someone is rude, ask them to stop, if someone is a nonparticipant ask them to join in, but don’t expect them to change their personality to accommodate you.

4. Be flexible, it is not a one-way street and depending on the personality both people should adjust and communicate how they are going to interact/communicate.

5. One personality does not trump another. Again, it’s a two-way street.

6. When delivering criticisms, consider positive aspects. Do not be passive aggressive. Whether manager to employee or employee to employee, person to person, issues and expectations should be clear and identified. 

7. Accept and understand various personalities. Example: if someone does not like your personality, that is their issue and they should be honestly speaking to you directly in a kind manner to resolve any issues. 

8. Assuming and jumping to conclusions about a situation or how you think someone is feeling, acting, or communicating is not necessarily correct.

9. These behaviors in adults reflect how our children act in school. Before we can stop bullying and create a respectful environment in society, the adults need to act respectfully.

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