Work is like high school. The people you tangled (and tango-ed) with back then exist in every work setting. They may have different names and faces but their essences remain unchanged. It’s easy to create good chemistry with easy-going, friendly or approachable people. Doing the same with ‘difficult’ types of people is much more challenging.

Identifying the Characters

  1. Red Forman: Remember That 70s Show? Now remember how bad you felt for Eric Forman? Constantly bullied by his overbearing father. Funny for us; not so funny for Eric.

Bullies in the workplace are much the same. You’ll identify them by their interactions with others - they’ll pick on people they think are weak or inferior. They’ll take their insecurities out on their colleagues. They’re cruel and will create problems between you and your co-workers. Don’t allow them to disrespect you but try not to engage with them on their level.

  1. Homer Simpson (The Simpsons): Slouching on the couch, donut in hand, staring blankly into space – the ultimate slacker. As you navigate the workplace, you’ll encounter lazy, unmotivated people.

  2. In high school they bunked classes in favor of sleep/graffiti/something unholy. They don’t change much when they start working. If you work with them you’ll probably end up doing most of the heavy lifting. It may be better (for your own sanity) to avoid the couch altogether.

  3. Tony Stark (Iron Man): That quarterback with the mirror in his locker and a bottle of hair gel in his pocket? He was a narcissist. Narcissists generally do well in the business world – their lack of empathy and blatant self-interest allow them to excel – so it’s likely you will encounter one at some point. They’re aggressive, pretentious and confrontational. Be cautious in challenging them and correct them without being too threatening.

  4. Eeyore (Winnie-the-Pooh): He may have been cute but he was also a total downer! Pessimists vaporise positivity in the workplace. The way they see the world – and the people in it – is bleak and negative. They will disregard your opinions without explanation. Handle them by reminding them that their input is needed, without allowing their negativity to affect your own prosonality.