Hiring difficult personality types

There are many personality types out there. But, dealing with them in the business world is just not easy. If you have a small company, you might not have easy access to the cream of the crop as they prefer to work for Google or other big companies with stellar reputations. So, how do you survive? You need to decide if you want to hire difficult people or not.

But, there are different types of difficult people. You might be able to handle some of them, but not others.

The mediocre type
Some people don’t argue much. They just do their work in a mediocre way. They don’t care if they made a mistake, and if they have to take the day off at a critical time, that is your problem, not theirs. They will be uncooperative about returning phone calls or about doing anything that you are not forcing them to do. In a sense, the mediocre type are sort of like adults with the psychology of American 13 year olds. Personally, I don’t like the mediocre type, because their performance is too pathetic to justify a normal paycheck in my opinion. Also, they dull my enthusiasm for work which is another factor which you should consider. If you work with underachievers, they will lower your standards without saying a word.

The complainer
Every company has one of these. They complain about everything. If you are nice to them on Monday, they will complain that you weren’t nice on Tuesday. If they didn’t get a bonus they complain. If they get a bad customer they complain. If someone does good work, I will tolerate a lot of complaining. But, complaining can bring you down. See if you can master the art of handling a complainer. Try to get them to see the good side of their job. Compare their situation to someone’s that is much worse. The Dalai Lama uses this technique to teach happiness by the way (not that I read Dalai Lama’s literature.)

The egomaniac
Some people are just into themselves. I had a friend who was like this. Some people say that egotists are not good team players, but that is not necessarily the case. Egotists in the long run care about coming out on top themselves, and not about your operation even if they seem to be cooperating. On the other hand, nobody cares about the success of an entrepreneur except the entrepreneur him/herself! Other egotists put everyone else down. It can be a pain to listen to this. But, on the other hand, they might make useful and legitimate statements about faults in others that you overlooked. So, don’t fear the egomaniac. Just try to understand their psychology and learn how to deal with them.

The backstabber
Unfortunately, the backstabbling type don’t usually wear a sign on themselves announcing to the world who they are. Backstabbers are a problem. Some of them only threaten you but don’t actually do anything. Others tell horrible things about you to your clients. Some try to steal a position from someone else who works from you. There are many things a backstabber will try to do including telling you things that will raise your blood pressure on a regular basis. In my personal opinion, backstabbers are not ideal people to work with. Try finding someone who just does their work without all the drama!

The secretive type
Some people are not bad workers, but don’t get back to you, don’t follow through and keep you in the dark. The problem is that if they didn’t actually do critical work on time, you will not know about it. The secretive type needs to know how important their work is in the bigger picture and that following through and communicating are required. Penalize them with small penalties and offer bonuses if you can adapt their behavior. Otherwise, I would not put a secretive person in any position where their bad habits can damage your business’ performance.

The follower
From a boss’ point of view, the follower looks like the perfect employee. However, they have some very deceptive flaws that you might be completely unaware of. Particularly if you are an Indian boss who hates being questioned! The follower just goes along with what you say, doesn’t question you, doesn’t rock the boat, and doesn’t come up with much that is innovative either. The problem with these types is that if they see a huge problem, they might not warn you or try to find problems to solve the problem. If there is a way to get the company far ahead, they will be more interested in just keeping the show moving along than trying to innovate to capitalize on a new opportunity. I have a good friend who is the following type. He maintains order, but nothing around him ever improves in his business or personal life. Sometimes you need an employee who lets you know when something happens that is noteworthy that could be an opportunity or crisis. On a brighter note, the other types of employees on my list will probably not inform you of serious issues either — except for the backstabber since they want to scare you!

In real life it is often not possible to find perfect employees. So, if you decide to work with problem types, find a way to calculate how expensive their flaws are in terms of lost productivity. Without that analytic you could go out of business! Never pay a problem worker more than they are worth. But, on a brighter note, if you find a good employee, perhaps consider paying them handsomely as they are a rare commodity in any of the companies that I have associated with!

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