For those of you who are going through the Oil and Gas downturn for the first time, you may have recently become aware of a different kind of animal lurking (and in some case circling) the halls of your otherwise productive office. Up until this point, the Type A personality (the hard working, objective focused and sometime neurotic individual) has been focused on achieving your company’s growth orientated goals. However, since the downturn, as costs become the dominant driver of business success, this Type A has turned their sights on the biggest cost (aside from capital assets) your company has to offer….yes, that is YOU! Aside from the benefits these Type A personalities bring to your organization in the form of goal achievement, straightforward approach and a high energy level which they bring to most tasks, their personality can be completely overwhelming and can actually damage culture if you and your employees cannot tame this fragile beast!
Here are a Few Key Ways of Dealing with That “Special” Type A Personality in Your Business:
1. Before responding to rapid fire requests, first take a breath and then ask them any question that causes them to settle down. Questions such as “How is your day going?” or even better “What are your thoughts on…?” will show them that you care what their opinion is while at the same time calming them down.
2. Be direct and be brief when responding to questions.
3. Look them in the eye the entire time. I find looking into each eye separately and then moving from eye to eye makes it look less obvious that you are engaged in the age old staredown.
4. If they are asking you to do a task, always repeat the following prior to them leaving your office/cubicle etc. “Just so I am clear, you want me to….” This not only clarifies the task but also positions you as needing clarification, not them (these individuals typically never think they are wrong and that they are masters of communication).
5. Always set a timeline for the completion of the task. This is incredibly important, as in the eyes of the Type A personality the task needed to be completed yesterday. If you set the timeline, you can wash away any deviations on timeline expectations.
As a side note, I am without a doubt a Type A personality and enjoyed having a couple of colleagues who I work with critique the process on how to deal with me during the downturn.
Article by Chad Robinson.
You can read more about Chad Robinson here.