As a leader, you want to see your team to reach it’s full potential. Often easier said than done. There are challenging personality types out there. With the right outlook, tools, and methods those difficult personalities will look less like coal and more like diamonds. Let’s take a closer look at four of the more challenging personalities to lead and some simple tips on how to handle them.

The Micromanager

The Micromanager has already analyzed your team’s next move, and will tell you all the ways it can potentially fail UNLESS you do it her way. She is remarkably logistical and analytical, often to a fault, but hesitates to contribute to creative brainstorming sessions.

What Not to Do: Tell her she’s worrying to much. By minimizing her concerns you’ll only make her feel more alone and more concerned.

Try This Instead: Acknowledge the risk that she is worried about, and invite her to create a solution that allows her to feel safe. Encourage her to be specific about what she fears may happen and agree to a contingency plan that will prevent the situation from occurring.

Diamond Attribute: She’s the perfect risk management guru to alert your team away from trouble.


The Boaster

It’s likely you’ll find The Boaster at the water cooler more often then you find him at his desk. He is more than ready to fill you in on his newest car purchase, vacation, or how he recently closed a big client. If it seems like it’s all about him, that’s because in his world it is. However, there’s more to this need to shine than meets the eye.

What Not to Do: While knocking The Boaster down a notch may seem like the logical thing to do, it’s actually the worst way to handle such a character. The Boaster may appear to have an inflated ego, but they’re actually exhibiting signs of feeling inferior by seeking others approval.

Try This Instead: Don’t be afraid to give The Boaster plenty of validation. Use a recent achievement compliment him, not just on his actions, but on his character. This will help assure him that he truly is enough.

Diamond Attribute: He’s a great team motivator and will provide his peers with a necessary burst of energy.


The Robot

When it comes to conversations with The Robot, it can often feel like you’re pulling teeth. They seem to lack any interest in building bonds within the team, and has a persona that seems disengaged, detached, and down right mechanical. It’s unlikely you’ll be seeing her at any team building exercises any time soon.

What Not to Do: While the “leave me alone” sign stamped on The Robot’s forehead may lead you to believe it’s best to give her space, this isn’t necessarily the case. Chances are, she’s feeling more than you think, in fact she’s probably feeling a bit too much, so keeping her at arm’s length isn’t the answer.

Try This Instead:  Model a more vulnerable behavior so the Robot can recognize the benefit of opening up. Really dig into meaningful conversation, recognize both her joyful and painful emotions and don’t be afraid to share your feelings with her.

Diamond Attribute: As she gains comfort with her feelings, The Robot will show her care for the group and help people connect with each other more deeply.


The Bully

It seems like almost weekly there’s someone in your office with a complaint about The Bully. The rest of the team tries to avoid him and he and HR are practically on a first name basis. It seems like he has a counter argument for every idea, and rather than moving forward, projects often stand still due to his inability to cooperate.

What Not to Do: Everyone wants you to use your power as leader to make The Bully be more rational, but this just lessens the self respect he is trying to win. And if he feels you avoiding, manipulating or be overly empathetic, he will lose respect for you.

Try This Instead: You want him to get a win. Show just enough strength to give him something to push against and set him up with a project that requires his grit and determination. Be sure it has clear and achievable goals. This will allow him to pour all of that passion into a specific outcome, to get a win that way rather than against his peers.

Diamond Attribute: What may seem like pushiness is actually misguided power. The Bully will do the hard things that enable your team and your clients to succeed.


These are just some of the personalities whose gifts you can access as a skillful leader. It is even more effective to have the team grow together using new technology such as the Numina app. Numina are currently offering two complimentary team coaching sessions. Click here to find out more.