Personalities are like snowflakes — no two are identical. That includes your coworkers' personalities. Everyone's personality is unique in their own right; however, when you work with multiple people, your personalities start to clash. One way to deal with this is by understanding the different personality types and how they work together.
Not all work personalities are created equal. Some people are just downright quirky — and managing quirky people efficiently without rubbing them the wrong way can be a challenge.
Whether small or large, every business will have quirky people who exhibit eccentricities in their behavior. These quirks could be in the form of your employees' personality traits or their performance in general. Although these may only seem like minor problems, please don't underestimate how much they can affect a business.
Different Personality Types and Their Quirks
Different types of quirky people are all over the place in your office, and it is important to appreciate each one for their contribution to the culture at the workplace.
All quirky people have different personality traits that they bring to work. Some quirky people are a little more challenging to deal with than others. The following are some of the most common quirky personalities you may encounter at work, along with tips on best managing them.
1. The Praiser
This person is always praising you for everything you do. The 'praiser' type of quirky people don't want to miss an opportunity to give credit where it is due! A praiser is quick to give compliments and willing to help others look good. The praiser personality is usually based on high levels of agreeableness. This employee can be a tremendous asset because they are always upbeat about your achievements and accomplishments. However, if you're not careful, you may find yourself doing more talking than working — which means less time for getting stuff done.
Quirky people who praise a lot may seem like ideal employees given their upbeat attitude. Still, unfortunately, this happy-go-lucky disposition can be harmful when it comes time to provide constructive criticism or feedback. Praisers will often misinterpret constructive criticism as an insult. They may even begin to question their capabilities in the workplace, which can damage their confidence and overall performance over time.
Why is it challenging to manage?
Praise is good, undoubtedly. But too much of it can be harmful. For example, if you ask a coworker to take on an extra project because you don't have time to spare, they may say something like this: "This looks great! I'm glad you thought of me for this." Then they will turn around and ask someone else to do the work for him because they feel overburdened. Instead of saying yes immediately, he should acknowledge the request and give you a realistic estimate of when he can deliver — yet this person will often promise more than she can provide.
Quirky people who praise everyone all day are so friendly that you can never tell when they're criticizing someone else or you because they sugarcoat every critique. This makes them challenging to manage because you don't know what you're doing wrong, which confuses you.
How to deal with it?
It would help if you learned how to read between the lines. When you ask a praiser to do something, and they say "Sure," follow up by asking her what day they plan to complete it. If you feel that The Praiser isn't happy with your work, ask them directly in private. Be sure that your conversation takes place in an intimate setting so that no one is offended by what is said. The praiser can be seen as naive or lacking ambition because they are easily content with the status quo. Motivating the praiser is difficult because they don't have reason to work up to a new challenge or promotion.
If you think the praiser's behavior could damage your company's reputation (like if they say something false about your product), pull them aside and explain why exaggerations are dangerous. If you think their positive energy is contagious, let them know how much you appreciate their upbeat attitude!
Quirky people who fall under the 'slacker' category are always trying to get out of work and slack off. However, surprisingly, this type of quirky people tend to be the hardest worker you will ever meet during crunch time, when have some big projects coming up. They're the person who never seems to do much work. They might spend hours on social media or complain about staying late, but they don't seem actually to do any of their work.
If it's your coworker, then you don't want to be around when your boss comes by and asks for a status report. It's also likely that you're picking up their slack as well as your own, which is not fun.
These quirky people have a sprawling list of unfinished tasks. They may be late to meetings or not show up at all. Quirky people who slack off rarely respond to emails and are always asking for extensions on deadlines. The Slacker can become frustrated when they're confronted with their actions, so be sure to let them know that this confrontation is coming from a place of caring and respect for both the team and the individual.
Why it's challenging to manage?
Quirky people who slack off a lot come in all shapes and sizes, varying from the laid back surfer dude who likes to play video games at his desk to the "self-proclaimed" workaholic who gets very little done.
Regardless of their motivation, these quirky people can be a significant pain point for managers. They may be intelligent and talented, but they have a terrible habit of ditching responsibility and cutting corners. These hard-to-manage employees can even cost your company money and set a bad example for other employees — but you don't have to put up with them by any means.
Slackers are often great at making you feel like it's not their fault — there were so many other essential things to do, and they never got around to finishing up that project that was due last week. Or they say they don't understand what you want them to do, even though you gave them detailed instructions. And if you try to talk to them about problems with their performance, they might go into defense mode and tell you how hard they work or how unfair this all is. (Of course, those defences usually sound like excuses.)
How to deal with it?
Here's what to do about it:
- Keep calm and don't take it personally. Yes, you're being asked to do more than your fair share of work because the quirky people around you are slacking off. But getting angry isn't going to help solve the problem.
- Speak up right away. Don't wait until you can't handle the workload anymore and go off on a rant in front of everyone else in the office. Talk to the person privately and let him know that if he doesn't start helping out, you're going to have no choice but to bring it up with your manager or HR rep.
- Have a plan for handling the workload yourself if necessary. Maybe you'll need to find an inexpensive freelancer who can help out or put in extra hours yourself.
This person is just new to the job but has been a hard worker their whole life. Newbies don't always fall under the category of 'quirky people'; it's more like their circumstances sometimes make them a quirky personality type to manage. New quirky people need someone to show them around the workplace and get them on a path to success. The newbie is the new employee who has been around for about six months. They're usually eager and friendly but still have a lot to learn. It's essential to help The Newbie through their first year because they're so impressionable — their core work habits will be formed in this period.
They're the innocent lambs of the workplace. They know so little about the job that they won't make waves or stir up trouble. However, they're also unlikely to contribute much because they don't have the experience to know what's possible and what's not.
Why it's challenging to manage
Newbies are the "new kids on the block," and they tend to stand out as quirky people, whether it's because they're fresh out of college or they've transferred from a different department. Either way, quirky people who are new want to make a good impression and prove themselves. Their eagerness and enthusiasm may seem like a good thing, but it also makes them susceptible to distraction and can create extra work for you if you have to correct their rookie mistakes.
How to deal with it?
The best way to handle a newbie is by treating them like an empty box, ready to be filled with knowledge. Providing a new hire with a clear job description and training schedule will give them direction. By setting up regular check-ins, you can make sure they stay on track and are meeting goals in their first weeks on the job.
Help The newbie by:
- Be patient with them when they make mistakes.
- Showing them the ropes and helping them get up to speed quickly.
- Giving them constructive feedback when they need it.
- Setting up appropriate expectations, so they don't feel overwhelmed by the job.
The Low-Key Overachiever
You need one of these quirky people on your team because they will subtly take over any project you give them and complete it with excellence. The Low-Key Overachiever's ultimate goal is to make work look effortless. This type of quirky people is quiet in the office, but they might shock you with how much they get done. While their low-key personality may seem like its only strength, some companies face challenges when working with them.
Low-key overachievers are quirky people who also excel at their jobs but don't tend to be outspoken about it. Rather than the loudest people in the room, they're typically the quietest ones — and that can be difficult for extroverted managers to deal with. In some cases, a lack of communication can lead to misunderstandings and poor performance reviews.
Why it's challenging to manage
It's hard to ask for more work from someone who seems to be doing everything already. These quirky people are a manager's dream until they realize no one else is doing as well as they are. While they're typically happy to help or share credit, this personality type can bring team morale down and cause them to undervalue your company's work culture.
No one likes a show-off. But, if you have an employee who is exceptionally good at their job, it can be difficult to encourage them to speak up and use their skills to benefit the company without sounding like a braggart. This can be doubly true if you don't want your other employees to feel threatened by someone's superior skills.
How to deal with it?
You may handle the problem of quirky people who quietly achieve a lot, by playing up their team skills rather than their ones. The Low-Key Overachiever may be good at what they do, but they often need a little help in working with others. Find ways to work on those skills, both in groups and one-on-one. The more that you can get the Low-Key Overachiever involved in group work, the more likely it will be that they'll start being acknowledged for their contributions.
At any opportunity to celebrate, this person is dancing in the middle of the room or zooming around in their chair. They keep the morale up at work, whether it's a CEO party or just someone's birthday celebration.
These quirky people love the spotlight and will do almost anything to be in it. They're outgoing, upbeat and always eager to please. The downside? They may lack follow-through, and they're often more focused on the next big thing than what's happening right now.
Why it's challenging to manage?
These types of quirky people are tough to manage because they tend to be likeable. Their upbeat attitude often masks their poor performance, which means they can survive in an office environment for years before getting caught.
The Dancer is challenging to manage because they're always thinking about something other than work. Quirky people who dance around can get easily distracted and procrastinate on projects until the last minute when they suddenly get inspired and do an excellent job at the last second. Dancers are sometimes described as "flighty" or "frivolous".
How to deal with it?
To manage this type of quirky people:
- Ask for status updates on tasks and projects. This will keep them focused and help ensure that critical assignments don't fall through the cracks.
- Share your vision for the department regularly. They like to know where they fit into the big picture so they can work toward achieving goals that align with your vision.
- Provide opportunities to shine in front of larger audiences or groups when appropriate. They'll appreciate the chance to show off their talents.
It is important to note that each personality type has its idiosyncrasies. Quirky people come in all shapes and sizes, and they are often a product of their specific attitude towards the world. Indeed, these quirks can lead to misunderstandings and conflict—but when everyone involved is aware of the quirky people in their midst, tensions can be quickly diffused. After all, we all have our personalities, so why not embrace them? And who knows? If your coworkers know what to expect from you, they might even come to appreciate your eccentricities!
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Conflict is inevitable in all workplaces. This happens whenever different personalities encounter each other in a shared environment, whether online or face-to-face. The key, therefore, is to figure out how to handle and navigate these conflicts so that it does not derail your team's productivity.
Among the strategies that can help you handle this situation is developing an understanding of personality types and quirks.
- Remember that personality quirks aren't bad by definition – they're just different from what you're used to.
- Be open to noticing the peculiarities of each type and don't take them personally.
- Once you learn which quirks apply to the person you're working with, the annoying habits will begin to feel more tangible and predictable.
- With this knowledge and perspective, you can adjust your communication style to create better synergy within the team.
The bottom line is that while you can't change personalities, you can develop strategies to deal with the differences and make your office environment more productive.