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Who Pushes Your Buttons? The Five Personality Types

Posted by Sharon Hudson, Director, Talent Tools on 10 June 2018
Who Pushes Your Buttons? The Five Personality Types

Being able to manage conflict at work requires practice and skill. A key input into this process can be in understanding which type of person is most likely to "push your buttons" and how you can best respond in those situations.

Below are five of the most common personality traits that people can find difficult to work with, and how you could change your approach when working and engaging with these types of people. 


1. Self Centered

Traits Tend to think they're always correct
Act like "know it all's"
Generally, put themselves first
Can come across as insensitive
Potential Advantage  Because they like talking so much about what they know, use this to your advantage by listening and learning. Take what you can get.
Cooling Strategies Stop and ask yourself why this person pushes your buttons - what is it specifically?
Consider why they might be acting this way - are they nervous, anxious or insecure?
Acknowledge their experience and input
Quick Wins Be well prepared with answers when working with this type of person
Request they share recognition with the team
Instead of directly challenging an idea you don't agree pose it as a question
Ask them directly when you want to contribute


2. Abrasive

Traits Can come accross as rude and curt
They tend to be undiplomatic and insensitive to others' needs
Will often use sarcasm and insults disguised as humour
They tend to put people on the defensive
Potential Advantage             Whilst their pessimism can sometimes be discouraging, they are often the first people to accurately identify problems and obstacles. This can be valuable in certain situations so take the time to take their ideas on board.
Cooling Strategies Consider why they might act this way - self doubt, insecurity or a need to be liked?
Try to listen analytical to what they are saying. Are their critisms valid?
View their critisms as potential to improve
Counter their pessimism with optimism and positivity
Quick Wins Try using facts to analyse problems and situations (rather than emotion)
Don't be afraid to call them out if you feel the joke has gone too far
Bring the conversation back to the matter at hand rather than having "blame games"
Suggest problem solving sessions to get everyone involved in the process


3. Aloof

Traits Will isolate themselves
Won't seek outside input
Not open to others
Don't provide feedback

Potential Advantage

Allows you to work independently and autonomously. Use it as an opportunity to take advantage of the freedom                                                                                 
Cooling Strategies Consider why they act this way, are they shy, anxious or self-doubting?
Acknowledge their feelings
Quick Wins Be specific about what you want from them and how this will help you
Ask them opened ended questions
Acknowledge their experience
Get to know them a little bit better by asking questions and engaging them in small talk


4. Unapprecaitive 

Traits Don't praise or reward effort
They consider that workers are doing what they should be doing and don't need thanks
Tend to be overly critical - thinking that is the best way to motivate
Potential Advantage          Whilst you might be not getting much positive reinforcement, you are gaining independence and self-sufficiency. You can use it as an experience to rely on yourself.
Cooling Strategies Consider that perhaps this person is simply not aware of the importance of thinking people? That might not be how he/she was bought up.
They may have unreasonably high expectations, which says more about them then you.
Quick Wins

Ask them to provide feedback on milestones and progress (if saying a simple thank you seems unrealistic for them)
Ask what you can do to improve and take the feedback as a learning experience
Use your colleagues as a source of appreciation and stop looking for appreciation from this person when they aren't going to give it.
Reward yourself when you meet goals; or perhaps organise a team reward to be shared


5. Untrustworthy

Traits Can come across as manipulative
Will use others for their own gain
They may try to undercut, lie or cheat to get what they want
They will often keep information to themselves
Potential Advantage        Use this as an opportunity to learn how to act with integrity and always for the right thing.
It's also an act in forgiveness to look past people's flaws, even when we don't want to.
Cooling Strategies Some of the reasons people act in this way are envy, lacking in self confidence and lacking in integrity.
Consider whether the dishonest acts are deliberate or not deliberate, how "big" they are and who is being harmed. This will help apply some rationally to the situation.
Quick Wins If you had anything to do with breakdown in trust acknowledge and explain this to them and you may be able to rebuild your relaitonship
If you feel you can confront the person
Protect yourself. While you might have to work with the person it's also ok to keep them at arm's length




Want to know who pushes your buttons?


Take our online test to find out.

Being able to effectively manage conflict at work has many benefits and whilst it might be hard at times to bite our tongues, learning strategies to work cohesively with all personality types can create benefits both for you professionally and for the organisation.



What is Conflict Competence?

Conflict competence is the ability to develop and use cognitive, emotional, and behavioral skills that enhance productive outcomes of conflict while reducing the likelihood of escalation or harm.
The results of conflict competence include:

  • improved relationships
  • creative solutions, and
  • lasting agreements for addressing current and future challenges.
  • Improving your conflict competence involves understanding the dynamics of conflict and your own responses to it, cooling down by managing your emotions, slowing down and reflecting on what is happening in conflicts, and engaging the other person constructively.

The ability to manage conflict effectively represents a strategic business advantage.

Talent Tools provides a range of workplace conflict management training courses and workshops utilising the Conflict Dynamics Profile (CDP) assessment.

Discover the tools and training  to help your organisation MANAGE CONFLICT more effectively.

Author:Sharon Hudson, Director, Talent Tools
Tags:Conflict Dynamics Profile

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