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Management Tips: Dealing with Difficult Personalities

Management Tips Dealing with Difficult PersonalitiesWouldn’t it be nice if everyone we worked with had the same personality as us? Imagine how harmonious your property management office would be! Unfortunately, we all know this isn’t the case. The good news is, diversity can do wonders for a company’s success. The not-so-good news is, working with challenging employees can be frustrating and stressful. Take a look below to see if you recognize any of the most common “difficult” personalities (and learn how to manage them more effectively).

The know-it-all.

These folks genuinely believe that they are smarter than everyone else and are experts in just about everything.

The negative Nelly.

Have a great idea? You can be sure this person will shoot it down. Want to implement changes to a policy or procedure? Expect push back and plenty of bellyaching.

The ultimate competitor.

This individual takes friendly competition to the next level and will do anything to win, at all costs. As a result, they often result to bully-like behavior.

The yes-man/woman.

These employees agree wholeheartedly with everything but rarely have any ideas of their own, which means they contribute little to nothing to the team.

The political player.

This person is nice to your face but will stab you in the back any time they feel that doing so will give them a leg up.

The drama queen.

Everything that happens to this individual will result in an over-reaction. These folks often use their emotions as a tool to manipulate others.

Not sure whether your property management office is home to any of these personality types? Think back to the last time there was a tense situation, or how you’re always thinking about how to handle situations involving that one particular employee. Perhaps you’ve had other team members approach you with issues that seem to center on one or two of their colleagues. Chances are, at the heart of each of these scenarios is a challenging personality type.

A Roadmap for How to Deal

Obviously, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to managing difficult personalities. There is, however, a basic roadmap that can serve as a guideline, regardless of which kind of individual you are dealing with. The first step is sitting down in private with the employee in question. As you begin to discuss your concerns, focus on behavior as opposed to personality traits. This will help remove emotion from the equation.

As you navigate the meeting, try to ascertain what might motivate that employee to make a positive change. Create an open, honest and respectful atmosphere by adhering to the following rules:

  • Use “I” language instead of “you.” This will make your tone sound less accusatory.
  • Be clear and to the point, not just about what the unacceptable behavior is, but also why it’s harmful to the team and/or your property management company as a whole.
  • Calmly but firmly lay out for the employee what changes need to occur, trying to focus on what’s in it for them in addition to the team/organization.
  • Set expectations as to when you’d like to see said behavior changed by and lay ground rules for what the consequences will be should that not occur.

Keep in mind that it’s entirely possible that you may reach a point at which you’re not seeing progress. If you find yourself having to frequently put out fires with the same team member again and again, you are likely wasting your time, energy and attention. It’s never an easy call, but as a leader, you must be prepared to make a tough decision about staffing. Try to look at it as though you are giving that person the freedom to find another employer with which he or she would be a much better fit.

Lastly, as you’re reading through this post and going through the exercises, be secure enough to recognize some of the traits listed above in yourself. As is always the case, we cannot change what we don’t acknowledge. Admitting it is the first step toward addressing, overcoming and making positive change of your own. At the end of the day, you and your property management company will be better for it.

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