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The One Thing to Remember When Working With Different Personality Types

Everyone has good or bad stories to tell about their job and the people they interact with on a day-to-day basis. People have different personalities and quirks. For this reason, not everyone is going to get along. One of my favorite cartoons growing “Recess” had an episode where TJ was trying hard to get this one kid to like him. After trying all sorts of ways to get the boy to change his mind about him, TJ finally accepted that not everyone is going to like you. In your personal life, you can ignore the person, and both of you can be fine. At work, you can’t do that. You have to be professionals and work together.

It’s even more important that you put your dislike to the side when you are dealing with clients. You can’t tell your client, “Hey, I don’t like you.” You might have personality differences, but that is your client. You have to provide the quality of work that he/she deserves and work to make sure your client is satisfied. Knowing your client is vital to have a successful outcome on a project, and potentially solidify that relationship to continue working together. This includes knowing his/her personality.

Some clients let you take control and only check in once in a while, and others have to be part of every step of the way. You can’t take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. I think that is what everyone should always tell themselves when they come across someone they feel is giving them a hard. “It is not about me.” One client I had seemed always to give everyone a hard time. During a meeting, there was something that she forgot to pass on to the team and me. She beat herself up so badly, even with me telling her that it was not a big deal. I realized that she was a perfectionist and expected everything perfect from the start. Therefore, she did not intend to be mean. She was just a perfectionist who had to know everything was going according to plan.

I tailored my communication to keep her updated a bit more often and send her a quick follow-up when there was something that we needed from her. It kept her aware of what was going on and made sure that she knew things were progressing like planned.

Another client was the opposite. She was hands-off and would miss meetings even when we needed her approval on something. I decided to email her with the Subject: NEEDS YOUR INPUT: Topic] whenever there was a decision we needed for her to make. She was grateful for that and said she was given another person’s job to do because she had left the company. Again, you never know what that person is going through, so be a bit flexible and don’t take it personally.

I’m a bit of an introvert, and I preferred technology over people. I decided that I wanted to be a Technical Writer or a Developer. Even in those roles, you still have to work with others. In the last few years, Information Technology (IT) is not in a silo anymore. It is becoming more and more integrated with the business side of a company. This is due to technological advances that have made it essential to all aspects of the business (e.g., Finance, Human Resources, etc.) to all have a system to help them run their departments. Listen, you might not want to, but you are going to have to deal with others. Even if you are a Solopreneur, you are going to work with others.

I will even say that it’s usually great to have someone to bounce ideas off of and meet new people whom you would never have met if you were working solo. In the end, human interaction, even with their multiple personalities, is needed.

working with difficult people
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