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Personality Clashes at Work


It takes all kinds to make a world, and it takes all kinds to make a workplace.  Whether you make lattes at a coffee shop or work out of a corner office in a skyscraper, odds are, at least a few of your co-workers and superiors drive you crazy.

Why these people who are in such great need of help do not seek it is one of many unsolved mysteries.  Until the reasons behind this phenomenon are revealed, the relatively normal ones in the workforce must shoulder the burden of working around those who cannot help themselves.

Bullies, tyrants, and impossible people:  how to beat them without joining them
Ronald M. Shapiro & Mark A. Jankowski with James Dale
This book has seen me through my tenure at a particularly dysfunctional workplace.  Shapiro, Jankowski and Dale offer some good tips for identifying what is behind the nasty behavior you encounter as well as strategies you can use to cope with and diffuse some of the hostility.

Take the bully by the horns: stop unethical, uncooperative, or unpleasant people from running and ruining your life
Sam Horn
Ms. Horn focuses on practical strategies for taking the wind out of the bully's sails.

Toxic people:  decontaminate difficult people at work without using weapons or duct tape
Marsha Petrie Sue
Are your co-workers putting too much personal into the business environment?  Marsha Petrie Sue provides the tools you need to classify the type of toxic person you're dealing with and how to either detoxify them or at least detoxify yourself.

Working with you killing me:  freeing yourself from emotional traps at work
Katherine Crowley
Let the right one in doesn't just apply to horror movie vampires; it also applies to emotional vampires you meet on the job.  Crowley's tips can help you identify the type of workplace dysfunction you are dealing with as well as the best way to defend yourself against it.

Another resource to look into is's guide to dealing with difficult people.

Even though workplace weirdos make for amusing characters on shows like The Office, it's not so funny when you feel like you have a real-life Dwight Schrute bothering you all day.  It's even less funny in a rotten economy on days when you've had it and can't imagine any other possibilities that would cover the rent.  Try to focus on the pieces of the situation you can control and acknowledge the ones that you can't.



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Toxic People

Great tips and thanks for referencing these books. I've read "Toxic People" and found it so fascinating! Marsha Petrie Sue really hits the nail on the head in identifying those people in our lives - it keeps us from wanting to hit nails into their heads!

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