The tanks, snipers and terrorists in your office

by Human Capital29 Jun 2012

There will always be people around the office who leap to the defence of an individual who many find difficult – but for others, working with these individuals is nothing short of hell.

According to the author of a new book, Dealing With People You Can’t Stand by Rick Brinkman and Rick Kirschner, despite HR’s best efforts an unfortunate reality is that toxic personalities are an inevitable fixture in the workplace.

Do any of these venomous characteristics pervade your workplace?

The Tank is overbearing, confrontational, pointed, aggressive and angry, bulldozing anyone and everything in their path. With not a moment spared for back-and-forth conversation, this person unleashes verbal blastings, accusations and scorn. But as suddenly as their attack unfolds, the whirlwind assault is over and they’ve moved past you.

The Sniper hits through snide comments, biting sarcasm, or a well-timed roll of the eyes. Making you look foolish is the sniper’s specialty, and they have a knack for pouncing on even the slightest weakness.

The Grenade. After a brief period of calm, the grenade explodes into unfocused ranting and raving about things that have nothing to do with the present circumstances.

The Know-It-All. Seldom in doubt, the Know-It-All has a low tolerance for correction and contradiction. If something goes wrong, however, the Know-It-All will speak with the same authority about who’s to blame – you!

The Think-They-Know-It-All can’t fool all the people all the time, but they can fool some of the people enough of the time, and enough of the people all of the time – all for the sake of getting some attention.

The Yes Person. In an effort to please people and avoid confrontation, Yes People say yes without thinking things through. They react to the latest demands on their time by forgetting prior commitments, and they overcommit until they have no time for themselves. Then they become resentful.

The Maybe Person. In a moment of decision, the Maybe Person procrastinates in the hope that a better choice will present itself. Sadly, with most decisions there comes a point when it is too little, too late, and the decision makes itself.

The Nothing Person. No verbal feedback, no non-verbal feedback. Nothing. What else could you expect from… the nothing person.

The No Person. More deadly to morale than a speeding bullet, more powerful than hope, able to defeat big ideas with a single syllable. Disguised as a mild mannered normal person, the No Person fights a never ending battle for futility, hopelessness, and despair.

The Whiner. Whiners feel helpless and overwhelmed by an unfair world. Their standard is perfection, and no one and nothing measures up to it. But misery loves company, so they bring their problems to you. Offering solutions make you bad company, so their whining escalates.


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