OEA Blog
17 May 2018

Manage Your Expectations Towards Your Colleagues To Be Happier At Work

In school, we are taught more about how to produce actual work outputs, but not on how to deal with the people we have to work with to do so. Even as we work more, there still always seems to be that colleague that we cannot stand. Ever think that the problem is with you? You are only affected because your expectations are being let down. The key to happiness with your co-workers in the workplace is expectation management.

The quirks and habits of some of your difficult co-workers can actually be explained by their personality type. Here are some common personality types that seem difficult to work with and how to navigate the social game with them:

Some colleagues seem slower than others and can be called withdraw, lazy or laid back. Type 5s likely lack self-disclosure and are very private as they take a long time to trust someone. As a result, they take time to show excitement in what they are tasked to work on. Do not dismiss them though, as observers they pride themselves in being well-informed and are able to get deep into their mastery of knowledge. Just understand that they may focus more on garnering all the information they can before working on what they know.

If you are dealing with a type 5, try to give them a timeline to work on and manage your expectations of them on level of depth you need. If you are a type 5, learn to speed things up and let others know how much time you need to think or gather the information you need. You do not need to know everything before taking an action.

This colleague tends to be always rushed and late. They think they can bend time and do more in 24hours. Everything seems important. As such, they tend to overrun their schedules. Try not to be frustrated at type 7s, be empathetic to how they treat work. If you know your colleague is this way, expect him to always be late. Plan for what are you going to do should he be 30 minutes late. At the same time, help him grow by giving him reminders to be on time, and try to caution them of the workload they have and what reasonable time they can complete it.

If you have a colleague that easily bursts into anger, that person is likely to be a type 8. Understand that this is nothing personal, but just how the person releases his energy and frustrations. These outbursts are often fast and quickly over, with him not bearing any grudges. Type 8s should know that their outbursts may be too much and scares people away instead of engaging them effectively. Other types may withdraw as they feel it is too intense to handle and step back. Try to understand and consider your colleagues feelings before just letting things out in anger, and think about what they are saying.

Colleagues of type 8s should know that this withdrawal is ineffective in working well with type 8s as they tend to perceive this as you having something to hide. Do not take his anger to heart. Just be assertive to make your stand, engage him, and listen to where this anger is coming from and the reasoning underlying it.

Not that their personality type is an excuse for bad behaviour. For example, being late for meetings or work is simply unacceptable in a work environment. However, understanding why your colleague is doing what he is doing can empower you to solve the problem at its root, all while staying calm and not being unnecessarily frustrated.

There is no point being upset if you are the only one feeling it. Empathy and expectations management is the way to go with simple steps to help your colleague work better and overcome his flaws. After all, no one is perfect.

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