This article takes a brief look at three manipulative-aggressive (aka passive-aggressive) personality types you may either meet in work or have to manage in work if they are part of your team.
The Countdown Kid is a person who is near to retirement but instead of going out gracefully and with class, is looking to work their ticket and play the organisational system for all it is worth.
At best they might be doing the barest minimum they can do to get by knowing you can apparently do little about it.
At worst they might be seeking to try and force the organisation into paying them redundancy, an early retirement deal or some other thing they feel is available and which will yield them more than mere retirement. They do not care who they have to annoy or disrupt to get it.
They are a common feature of many modern, especially large, organisations and in large part the organisations themselves have created the many opportunities for these people to play the system through overly-complex HR policies and poorly thought out historically created employment packages. Add to this new rules and regulations in HR and employment law and it is clear to see the fertile ground such people confidently operate in.
The Guilt Tripper is the person who never lets people forget the bad treatment they believe they have had at the hands of bosses and workmates. They never let facts get in the way of a good story of course so although their moaning may have some kernel of truth they will happily exaggerate and embellish. Take their stories with a big pinch of salt.
They blame everyone but themselves for their perceived misfortunes and never miss an opportunity to tell anyone unfortunate enough or daft enough to listen of their woe-filled tales.
If you do not give them a particular task or project they want they will moan on and on about how you “did the dirty on them” or “stitched them up” and generally held them back. Colleagues will get the same treatment if they are felt to have contributed to this heinous act.
They never seem to worry they might have failed to make the cut due to simple lack of merit or some other valid reason. No, it was an unfair act directed specifically and callously at them and no one else.
Like other passive-aggressive types they are adept at recognising and pushing the emotional buttons of others and guilt is a strong emotional button for most of us. They look for people who might either believe or support them or who might easily cave in to their bullying manipulative tactics. If you can smell the acrid stench of burning martyr it will likely be The Guilt Tripper.
The Control Freak is a perfectionist and as such is unwilling to and often almost incapable of delegating work to others. Even if they are capable of it they are often unwilling to do it. If The Control Freak does manage to delegate, or is forced to delegate, then they will try to micro-manage to such an extent they may as well have done it themselves anyway.
The Control Freak is consistently controlling with everyone they encounter. They cannot help themselves and will reveal their tendency despite any efforts to keep it hidden. The Control Freak is therefore relatively easy to identify and their behaviour can be extremely domineering at times (The Control Freak could well have been placed in the hostile-aggressive section).
Having The Control Freak on your team or, usually worse, having The Control Freak as your boss, can be a motivational sink hole; morale can plummet.
Make no mistake, if not properly controlled or dealt with, The Countdown Kid, The Guilt Tripper and The Control Freak, as well as a host of other subversive and manipulative personality types, are dangerous to the morale and mental well-being of both you and the staff on your team or in your department.
Both the hostile-aggressive personalities, mentioned in the previous article, and the manipulative-aggressive personalities mentioned in this article, are bullies. Take a zero-tolerance approach to bullying. Assertively stamp it out. Either turn it around, neutralise it or eliminate it entirely before the toxic types, who use bullying as a weapon, take control of your working world.
Assertively managing difficult personality types at work can be something of a nightmare for many line managers and supervisors. Some managers seem to have the amazing knack of effectively and confidently with the difficult personality types they encounter. If they can do it why can’t you?
To get the low-down on assertively and effectively managing these and many more difficult personality types why not check out one of my latest books “Assertively Managing Difficult People” by Andrew D. Pope.
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