Sometimes, achieving happiness in your job means knowing how to work with some tough people. This series of posts is for those 80% of workers who interact with at least one “toxic” co-worker, manager and subordinate day-to-day.
We’ve defined what a histrionic personality looks like based on the the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders of the American Psychiatric Association, and have examined what it’s like to work for a histrionic boss and with a histrionic co-worker. But what’s it like to have a histrionic subordinate? Let’s take a look.
When you’re dealing with a histrionic subordinate, be prepared to deal with their constant need for attention, approval and self-reinforcement. This can be daunting, draining, and distracting but accept that they will be in your office all the time with some or of crisis that needs your attention.
Here are some other things to expect:
- We’ve already covered this with bosses and co-workers, but it’s especially important to note for supervisors: These folks don’t do well at organization or follow through. Since a boss’s job is to help their employees to be successful, this is important to be aware and mindful of. It’s something you’re going to need to help them deal with to set them up for success.
- Consequences don’t mean a lot to them. They will think nothing of taking days off on a whim, either in response to a personal crisis or just because they feel like it, and think nothing about how that will impact the organization or their co-workers.
- Everything will be a crisis with this crowd, so its important to be consistent and set boundaries. Don’t let the latest story derail this. Keep it all in context.
So what can you do if you find yourself working for someone like this? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Offer creative outlets. This type of personality responds best when they have creative outlets. If their job doesn’t directly relate to creativity, do them a solid and try to find ways they can be creative within their roles and still contribute to the organization.
Be flexible. If this person is in a job where you value them, they are contributing and doing great work, make sure to offer them flexibility. If they want to take a day off or work from home, let them. The results and productivity you’ll get in return more than outweigh the negative consequences.
Don’t overreact. Put their behavior in perspective – it all has to do with their need to be the center of attention and is generally not something they have a great deal of control over. Keep a cool head and always keep in mind that part of your job is to be THEIR ADVOCATE. Yes, they are going to be difficult to deal with but if you can harness their energy and push it in the right direction, you’ll reap the rewards because they have a lot to offer organizations as well.
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