Personality Conflicts Decoded: Explaining People Who Drive You Crazy & the Ones You Drive Crazy

Haley greets Mike first thing in the morning as they pass in the hallway, and never gets back a “good morning,” “hi,” or even a grunt in return.

Mike swears he doesn’t see her when they pass each other, and you believe him. He’s a task-focused guided missile and a great employee but he bruises Haley’s feelings without meaning to.

Gwen poses other problems. She’s fun, creative and talented, but can be hard to work with and never shows up to meetings on time.

Then there’s George. He means well, but his incessant Devil’s advocate questioning of others raises their hackles.

Are the people you work with driving you up the wall?

Here’s the truth–Others don’t act the way you want or expect to, they act in a way that makes sense to and works for them.

Here’s a helpful framework detailing the four most common “types” you’ll find everywhere, along with role they play in personality conflicts:

Relators want you to say “good morning” in response to their morning greetings. They give and depend on support and understanding from others. When others don’t provide that, they feel the lack. Because relators expend energy to create workplace harmony and care about others’ views, others can manipulate relators by giving or withholding approval from them—sending relators into a “trying harder” tailspin.

These soft touches cut others slack and worry they’ve done something wrong. They wonder if there’s something amiss with their co-workers when they don’t get the same cooperative treatment from others that they give. I often tell relators, “S/he didn’t mean a thing when s/he walked by your ‘hi’ in the hallway without returning a greeting; his/her focus was on month-end financials.”

If you liked this post, you might like the tools & strategies in Beating the Workplace Bully: a tactical guide to taking charge, or some of these other posts conflict, and

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3 thoughts on “Personality Conflicts Decoded: Explaining People Who Drive You Crazy & the Ones You Drive Crazy

  1. I am definitely a focused decider. I can relate to the person that does not always notice people in the hallway. My mind is always on something, and I really like structure and putting together processes. But, I also like talking to people. Crazy how differently we are all wired, and how difficult things feel outside of your favorite zone.

  2. Relators, detectives, free spirits, deciders–great distinctions here! I can see myself in more than one of these roles!

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