How Do You Deal with Difficult Personalities?


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Dear Readers:

Very recently, I sat down with a friend who shared his concerns about a colleague who always seemed to swing from being pleasant to treating him with a bull-in-a-china-shop attitude. I listened to his complaints all the while thinking about the many men and women I have met in my life and on this path. One of the many lessons we learn working in the events industry is that working with others is a wonderful way to learn, grow and be creative (and let’s face it–get the event done), but it can also be a double-edged sword. When there is a synergy between personalities, it allows the best work to come through. But there are challenges.

Perhaps it is the momentary annoyance of an introverted caterer working alongside an extroverted cake designer, but when they run deeper (such as a two colleagues not seeing eye-to-eye for an extended period of time or a lack of respect for the space and talent of others) everyone, including the client, can suffer. One thing I know to be true is that human beings are not perfect. I know this because I am one and I have made enough mistakes to fill a book. I also run a company full of different personalities and always say that my office is like a family; we work, we argue, we laugh, and yes, sometimes we don’t always want to get along. Still, we share a commonality that we love what we do and we not only want to do it right, we want to exceed expectations–those of our clients and our own.

Like the designs we put out, there are colors, textures, and layers to the people on our teams, our clients, and everyone who passes us on the street.  Allowing each of those colors, textures and layers to have their space and moment, to do their part and add value in their own way (without competing and carelessly running into each other) leads to a much more enjoyable experience not only as a designer, but as any person who finds themselves within the space. I write this post today because I have been where my friend has found himself, and I know many of you out there may be dealing with personalities you find difficult either on a personal or professional level. Or perhaps you yourself are feeling that you need to compete with someone instead of complimenting their talents with your own. If you are in either of these situations, I would like to hear your thoughts on this topic, and do tell me, what advice would you give my friend? I am sure he’d appreciate it.




(Photo Courtesy of Peter Lik)