Over the years, I’ve worked in a lot of different jobs. From factory floors to secretarial roles, it doesn’t seem to matter which. There’s always one personality in the workplace that gets on everyone’s nerves.

And that gave me an idea. There must be specific personality types in the workplace that everyone recognises and secretly despises. So let’s bring them out into the open where they belong.

9 Most Difficult Types of Personality in the Workplace

The Under-Miner

I remember starting work at an electrical contracting company as a secretary and the firm consisted of all men. One man, in particular, was a sneaky ‘whisper in the ear’ kind of guy that would say things to undermine my confidence.

It was my first time working as a secretary, so I was new to the role and didn’t know what was expected of me. This one guy would appear to offer help and advice but then add a kind of afterthought that made me doubt my decision or actions.

This kind of personality in the workplace is undermining you to get ahead themselves by making you look bad.

The Ass-Kisser

I’ve come across several of these in my time. The person that rushes up to the boss with a tea or coffee as soon as they walk through the door. The ones that always turn up early to work and leave late to show willing.

They make everyone else feel as if they aren’t doing as much as they should. This sort of personality feeds resentment in the workplace. I mean, no one likes an ass-kisser in any walk of life.

So why do they act this way? Because they have a need to feel special and favourite.

The Gossip

You often get cliques forming in certain workplace environments, and this is where you’ll find our third difficult workplace personality – the gossip.

This person loves to spread rumours and lies about people. They play colleagues off one another to cause friction. In fact, this is really a form of bullying.

Gossips feel better about themselves by making others feel worse. Gossip isolates people and it’s particularly insidious in small companies.

The Over-Sharer

I once worked in a factory office and I was leaving the job and training up my replacement. She didn’t know anyone there and had only been learning the job for two days.

The office was open plan and had around 50 employees working there. One day, in a very loud voice, she informed me that this was her first real fulltime position after she had miscarried her baby.

This came out of nowhere. It was loud enough for everyone close by to hear. I didn’t really know her that well, but she proceeded to go into quite revealing details about the miscarriage and the treatment in hospital. The over-sharer wants everyone to know their most intimate private details.

The Perfectionist

Have you ever had to stay late because your team leader wants just ‘one more draft’ before you go? This is the work of the perfectionist, and she or he can keep us at work for hours.

Nothing is ever finished, nothing is ever good enough. You can deliver the most perfect content and it will come back with suggestions or edits.

The problem with this personality is that they are probably not just like this in the workplace. They are more than likely to be perfectionists at home too. So it’s not something they do to get at colleagues, it’s in their nature.

The Depressive

Whatever you say to the depressive, it will never work and it won’t succeed. The depressive is the one with a negative attitude toward everything.

The thing is, they never have a suggestion for what might work. They just need to tell you that your idea won’t work. And it doesn’t matter how many different solutions you put to them, none will get through.

Their only role in life is to put down everything everyone suggests and bring us all down to their depressive level.

The Critic

On the other hand, we have the critic. Now, you might think the depressive and the critic are the same, but they’re not.

The critic will take great delight in criticising your work or your ideas. They get their energy from contradicting what you say. They are even known to make up bogus facts and figures to make their argument seem valid.

To them, this is a fight, a battle, a duel to the end. There can only be one winner and they’ll do everything in their power to win. These are the kind of people that argue black is white.

The Slacker

We all know someone who doesn’t pull their fair share of work. Actually, when I was younger it was me! I worked in a reject kitchen shop and was responsible for the packing up of orders.

In the warehouse, boxes were stored at the back. Because most of the stuff we sold was jumpers and knitted accessories, the boxes were very soft.

You could make a nice little nest from these boxes where you would be hidden from the main part of the warehouse. My friend and I would take it in turns to have little afternoon naps for half an hour while the other would keep an eye out for the boss. Hey, I was 17!

The Weirdo

I’ve also worked with some weirdos in my time. One stands out in particular. This is another office tale. We had a smoking room in the days where you were allowed to smoke indoors and there was one guy who used the smoking room that everyone else avoided talking to.

I was told some rumours and gossip about him but decided to make up my own mind. Anyone, we got talking and sort of became friends over time. Then one day he said, “I’ve told my friend I’ve met someone.” I said that I thought that was great, and he looked puzzled and said ‘It’s you’.

I was a bit worried then he started sending me emails, asking me out, turning up at my flat, coming into work drunk and finally threatening me. In the end, because the company didn’t do anything, I left.

Final thoughts

Can you identify with any of these difficult personality types in the workplace or do you know any I haven’t covered? Let me know!


  1. jstor.org
  2. imgur.com

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