Photo Souree: Mohamed Hassan from Pixabay

Most people either deal with conflict head-on or avoid dealing with it altogether. In the worst case scenario, this can either increase hostility or lead to a deteriorating situation. If you are the manager handling this, neither approach is particularly effective.

A better way may be respond calmly and firmly but without getting caught up in the politics of a situation. You should aim to maintain the higher ground.


The five most challenging personality types are listed below, with thoughts on how to effectively deal with them (courtesy of Judith Orloff, M.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA in the U.S.A.).



  • Inflated sense of own self-importance
  • Won’t care what others are feeling
  • Extremely sensitive to criticism of any kind and liable to react badly

Suggested Approach:

  • Frame things in terms of how it might serve them as it is the only thing to which they will respond.

Passive-Aggressive Types


  • Promise to help but they don’t, or show up 15 minutes late
  • A form of anger, but not an outright form
  • You have to dig deep to understand their issues

Suggested Approach:

  • Very clearly say what you need from them and by when. Be precise about what you want them to do.



  • Try to involve others in drama
  • Can be self-absorbed

Suggested Approach:

  • Don’t get sucked into their conversations. Explain the destructive effect of gossip on the Company in general.

Anger Addicts


  • May yell at others, and give angry feelings free rein
  • Some of the most challenging employees

Suggested Approach

  • Don’t let them get away with it and use HR, if appropriate. They need to know that expressions of anger are inappropriate, and that they may not have a future at the Company as repeat episodes can bring the whole organisation down.

Guilt Trippers


  • If they feel slighted, will let you know how much of a grievance they have
  • May also lay same guilt trip on co-workers
  • Not good at communication

Suggested Approach:

  • Get them to talk about how they feel and not what they think has happened to them. Talk to them about the effects of their comments as they often don’t realise.


If you could benefit from hands-on support to deal with conflict in your workplace, then please contact me.

I will be running a series of positive transformation workshops, which will incorporate dealing with conflict, later in the year with my colleague, Gina Mayolin. If you would like to receive updates, please leave your email address below.
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