Difficult Personalities: The Eggshell

The Eggshell is a very sensitive person, and the slightest thing said to her, if misconstrued, causes her to crack. When she gets too many cracks she will become negative. Her favorite saying is "Don't let me know, I can't deal with it."

Denise, an IT manager at a rapidly growing Silicon Valley company, always took very innocent comments the wrong way. If a colleague said to her on her way out of the door, "What, only 12 hours today?" Denise would feel she was not working hard enough. Then she would jump to the conclusion that the colleague believed she was shirking her responsibilites. Eventually, she would crack and start leaking negativity wherever she went. She'd say things like "How dare I get criticized! I work so hard around here" or "This company doesn't deserve me if they think I'm not pulling my weight."

The Solution

When you have to give this person some critical or constructive feedback, make sure it is not brief and directly to the point (as it usually should be with others.). Get into it slowly, never make it personal, and be sure the person has understood your point before you move on. Doing this will minimize the big cracks from occurring.

Get tips for another difficult personality > >

Find your workplace nemesis from
14 personality descriptions.
Cope better with these 5 tips.

Excerpted from Managing Workplace Negativity by Gary Topchik, published by AMACOM Books

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