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Difficult Coworkers

Difficult Co-workers During your career you will come across difficult people with which you work. While most people are helpful and nice to be around, the top three most difficult co-workers will make your day challenging and frustrating. Wherever these personality types are concentrated, there will be a general lowering of morale in the department. Learning to classify these types of personalities will better equip you to keep your perspective in your relational issues in the workplace.

Where people are working toward a common goal, Complaining Charlie, Know-it-All Ken, and Gossiping Gail will be in attendance and you will come into contact with each over the course of your day. First of all, Complaining Charlie is always upset about some problem, be it with the company or at home. Charlie is always in attendance in the workplace, usually in greater numbers than other personality types you encounter. You can distinguish Charlie by the frown or unhappy look he has on his face.

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It would remind you of the time you stepped on a nail or some other painful incident in your life. Charlie complains to anyone who will acknowledge him. You really don’t have to listen, just stand there, nodding your head occasionally, or making some comment like, “Wow, I can’t believe that” to gain their attention. Charlie enjoys being the voice of doom for the company. Since he is unhappy or upset, naturally, you need to be in misery as well.

Charlie doesn’t realize when you have lost interest in their tirade, so you must take command of the situation. Any excuse is a good excuse, but the “I am in pain look” along with “I have to use the restroom” excuse usually works fine. Usually, Know-it-All Ken thinks he has the answer to your problem. Ken will make your acquaintance sooner, rather than later. You get acquainted with Ken when difficult situations arise and this is where Ken’s expertise really shines.

Prevalent through-out the work force, Ken commands respect- he is a legend in his own mind! While Ken usually has some technical expertise and training in his field, his basic lack of true knowledge overshadows his actual input. Ken usually has an authoritarian demeanor and can be arrogant if you question his thoughts and ideas. Ken will act as though his solution is the only answer to the problem and will proceed to let everyone know his stance on the situation. Ken can be disrespectful and ill-mannered if his ideas are questioned.

Unfortunately, solutions to the problem, can be delayed because of your dislike of Ken and the prideful issues that arise from Ken’s forceful presence. Finally, Gossiping Gail is known through-out the company as one who lives for the next disagreement, dispute, or altercation. Gail can be interesting to be around. While she can be funny and entertaining, her main focus is misinformation and the power she can amass by being in the loop. You know Gail very well, she always seems to be in the right place at the right time and she has the “privileged information” to prove it.

Gail will approach you with a comment about a rumor in the office but don’t take everything she says literally. Gail will eventually embellish her information to suit her audience with her own version of the facts. In this environment of trading “facts” with Gail, be careful of what you divulge. Gail will spread your words around the office, dropping names, giving hints, until you or someone else is hurt or slandered. Unhealthy alliances are even formed with Gail, with some workers hoping to gain an advantage within the corporate structure.

Complaining Charlie, Know-it-All Ken, and Gossiping Gail represent the most prevalent of difficult personalities you will encounter during your career. Every worker brings with them the personality traits that are unique to the individual. While some characteristics are most welcome, such as leadership and diplomacy, some personality traits can be hostile to the interpersonal dynamics of the work place environment. Most workers do not fit into a single category but will be a collage of different types. As you go into the work force, be on guard for these three types of personalities.


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