Difficult Personalities: The Micro

Remember when you were in high school and you wrote what you believed to be a great paper, original story, or composition? Did the teacher ever focus on the smallest details or mistakes and forget about the big picture? Did she focus on a couple of grammatical errors or a misspelled word or that you didn't cross your t's? That teacher was being Micro. A Micro's favorite saying is "I need to check it again; I must have missed something."

We see many Micros at the office, too:

  • The sales presentation went splendidly, but the Micro focused on the one bit of unimportant information you left out.
  • You just finished facilitating a training session to overwhelming rave reviews. Twenty-four out twenty-five participants rate the program as excellent. One gives it a fair. Your training director focuses only on one fair and never mentions that all the other reviews were excellent.
  • During a creative brainstorming, the Micro questions the rationale behind each idea. He becomes very uncomfortable without all of the information and details.

The Micro likes to focus on the smallest details. When she does that a lot, or inappropriately, she comes across as being too picky, too negative.

The Solution

Have this person get into the habit of evaluating the entire project or assignment. She is a great discerner of information. What she needs, however, is to be more macro, to see the larger context. Ask them for the main point of something, the overall goal, the major problems, the biggest benefit, the greatest strength or weakness, the main objectives, the overall direction of the project, and so forth. This tactic gets the Micro to think in a more broad-based fashion. When she focusses on the big picture, she no longer seems negative.

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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