by Stoney deGeyter

No matter where you go in life, you’re sure to find people who seem to make it their life’s joy to make you angry. They probably don’t even realize what they are doing… it just comes naturally. Two conflicting personalities at work.

I find it fun to think of people who you can’t stand the most, then think of their spouses, friends, or children who love and support them, and probably don’t have the faintest clue that you think they are an ass.

I remember the first time I met my ex-wife, she found me rude and annoying. I was teaching a card game to a group of kids after church and she came up to talk to one of the girls, the daughter of her best friend. Here I was trying to herd cats, so to speak, and I finally got everybody to listen to the rules when she interrupts not once, but twice.

So I stopped talking and (politely) waited for her to finish her conversation before resuming my discourse of the rules of “idiot”. According to her, however, I was the idiot. She interpreted my silence as a glare that said “how dare you interrupt me!”

She stayed well clear of me for some time after that. But, it wasn’t long until she was around me enough to see the charm and wit hidden underneath the “rude” behavior demeanor I portrayed. For a while at least.

There is no doubt that I could have reacted differently during that interaction. The same is likely true of most people that we find irritating. Most of the time it’s minor personality flaws that just don’t allow us to see eye to eye.

Life dishes these people out to us through business, related friendships, social events, on the beach, and even church. In your personal life you have some control over who you interact with. Not so much in business.

In his book High Maintenance Relationships, Les Parrot discusses several types of people that have personalities that tend to get under our skin:

Critics who constantly complain or give unwanted advice.
Martyrs who are forever the victim and wracked with self-pity.
Wet blankets who are pessimistic and habitually negative.
Steamrollers who are blindly insensitive to others.
Gossips who spread rumors and leak secrets.
Control freaks who are unable to let go and let things be.
Back-stabbers who are two-faced.
Green-eyed monsters who seethe with envy.
Volcanoes who build steam and are always ready to erupt.
Sponges who are always needy and never give anything back.
Competitors who always keep track of tit-for-tat.

Many books have been written about how to deal with or prevent hostile work environments. The book, The No Asshole Rule talks about having a completely asshole-free work environment. It talks about how to deal with these people, and the solution generally comes down to firing them.

But what this and other books often overlook is how not to be one of these 11 types of people. We can learn how to be better managers, better communicators, better leaders, better workers and whatever else. We can read books on how to create a more productive work environment, how to reward your employees or make your co-workers feel special.

But often the best advice for any manager boils down to one thing:

Don’t be that guy!

I can see myself in any number of these personality types, and I’m sure many of my friends and colleagues do to. So, what can I do? Recognize which tendencies I have, and make a deliberate effort to act contrary to my nature.

This is crucial for anyone looking to get ahead in business, whether you’re an employee, manager, or business owner. Continuing with any of these 11 personality traits simply makes people not want to work with or for you.

The more you temper your personality to be the type of person that people want to be around, the better success you’ll have in your relationships and life and business in general.

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