8 Types of Colleagues We All Have (and How to Work with Them)

8 Types of Colleagues We All Have (and How to Work with Them)

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Found yourself dealing with a co-worker who is problematic to work with? He or she might just be one of the 8 common complex personalities in your workplace.

Dealing with these individuals can take a toll on your well-being because it will negatively affect the organisation you work for. By familiarising yourself with the types of personalities in your workplace, you will be able to manage your career satisfaction better and ensure your own interests are being protected.

Gossip Mongers

One of the most common traits that can be observed in almost every office environment. In short, it’s no surprise that these type of individuals like to get their hands on the news and want recognition from talking about other people (usually talking behind their backs and spewing rumours which are highly exaggerated). If you find yourself talking to a gossiper at the office, be cautious. Chances are they could already be talking about you behind your back, even if you have an inkling. Be diplomatic and create space with these type of personalities to stay out of trouble.

“Gossip is generally the gossiper’s perception of someone. It can be hurtful and may hinder your productivity. Treat gossip like a boon in disguise and try to use it to your advantage. Be careful about how you are being perceived by co-workers; look for hidden clues during conversations, especially by the water cooler!”- Srishti Moudgil

Guilt Trippers

They are those who relish on blaming others and can be toxic to your work relationships. They are great at making people feel bad about something and use it to manipulate others into doing what they like. All they do is constantly push responsibilities away from themselves and onto others whenever things turn sour or difficult at work. The worst part is that they rarely acknowledge their mistakes or take ownership and make poor decisions. Most times, they will do their best to twist their version of the story to be ‘accurate and factual’ when the truth is, it isn’t.

One of the ways to protect yourself from getting guilt tripped by your co-workers is to always save copies of your original work in both hard and soft copies. Keep your work as confidential as possible to avoid getting sabotaged or worse, getting blamed for trouble that you aren’t involved in. Even if you get accused, relay the matter to your superior or your HR department to effectively resolve the issue.

Melodramatic Co-workers

They are regarded as the ‘drama queens or kings,’ because they are highly excessive in expressing their emotions to draw attention. Most of their speech and behaviour are exaggerated to gain sympathy from their colleagues. Often times, you will find yourself having a good time with these individuals outside of work instead of at the office. At work, they are usually unreliable in keeping up with their tasks and much of their decision making is based on their emotional standpoint, hence dealing with indecisiveness.

“Despite their efforts to involve you, there is nothing you can do to change them because changing them means trying to change personal histories, which is not possible. It’s done. It’s over. So, don’t try. You’ll exhaust yourself. Each dramatic person must decide for him or herself to embark on a road of self-awareness and growth. If he or she doesn’t, things will never change. The only thing you can do is manage yourself, which is where doing nothing comes into play. Know how to draw a line and when to walk away. Don’t be afraid to say that you’re not up for the drama. That choice is yours to make and when you do, they will disengage from the behaviour—at least with you.”- Fatima Raza Khan

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The OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder)

Nitpicky co-workers who point out every inch of your work do exist. So does a superior who constantly critics the way you do things. There’s one trait that can be associated with this kind of people and that is the obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).

They are individuals who constantly want to be in control of everything and anyone that is around them. Usually, they’ll overstep their boundaries just to justify their means of getting things done on their own terms even if it’s not fully related to them.

Despite their high expectations and the desire to be perfectionists, their personality can be a nuisance sometimes. Their controlling nature can backlog job tasks when they pick on the smallest issues. If you are working with a colleague with this trait, praise them for their commitment and effort but also give them advice on keeping a balance.

The Victim Persona

Compared to the other traits, individuals with this personality are not as common in the workplace. They become noticeable once they start to complain once too many times. They’ll usually claim as the victim, especially when things start to be problematic.

To interact with these victims, be patient with them when you talk to them. Never let them pull you into a constant wave of complaints about the same issue. They like to ruminate on things. You can empathise with them while giving a benefit of a doubt, but don’t let it tire you out. It is best to be firm and assertive so excuse yourself from their wet blanket sessions when it gets too overwhelming.

The Self-Doubter

People who are paranoid tend to find the worst kind of assumptions about anything that can happen. It won’t be easy to get them to understand the good side of things but it is possible. They are usually suspicious of other people’s actions and their motives, distrusting, and interpreting the actions of others from a negative standpoint. For instance, they’ll worry about a certain issue before any decision is made and waste their energy on it.

Avoid getting involved in altering their perceptions of reality, even if things don’t sit well with you. The least you could do is offer an explanation or share updates for their information. It is not easy to work with paranoid co-workers and the best approach is to try and communicate effectively with them to ensure both sides are on the same page.

Narcissistic Colleague

Working alongside an egotistic colleague can be one of the most annoying work experience ever. These individuals tend to display a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy for other people’s opinion, and the thirst to be praised regardless of their own personal efforts or not. Similar to ‘The OCD’ personality, they like to take control of situations and gain support to build up their presence regardless of how it could affect their relationship with the people they work with.

 ”If you’re sure the person you’re dealing with is someone with narcissistic characteristics, ignoring them is a preferable option.”- Teguh Li

The Detrimental Individual

Categorised as abnormal or a psychopathic, individuals with this trait have the tendency to inflict harm on other people through deceit and manipulation. They will grab any opportunity to get things done regardless if it’s unethical or illegal. If you’re currently working with this type of individual, it is best to stay clear of them. Devise a plan to do so. There is nothing you can really do to change their behaviour but at the very least you can save yourself. It is best not to reveal any important information of yours to them, as they could potentially use it to affect your career or the company.

“They are master manipulators, so you have to be prepared to recognise their methods in time and react before they trap you.”- Robert


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